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Michael Dell takes The Register out to lunch

Waxes lyrical on Win2K driver delays and who he wants to buy in Europe

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Billionaire Michael Dell today labelled some of his component suppliers "irresponsible" over delays on Windows 2000 drivers.

"Either these companies didn't believe it (the Win2K operating system) would happen, or they didn't realise it would be as important as it is," the PC vendor founder told journalists while lunching at London's Lanesborough Hotel.

The comment came a day after the Texas company admitted it only started shipping the Win2K Professional upgrade for its NT4 workstations in June four months after Microsoft launched the OS.

He said customers should feel free to put the blame on Dell if they wanted to, but added that when Win2K was released his company already had 95 per cent of the necessary drivers.

It was the other five per cent that caused the delay Dell chose to wait until it had the complete upgrade to send out to customers on CD.

"A number of vendors didn't really expect Windows 2000 to be delivered when it was delivered," said Dell, who refused to name the companies behind the hold-up. "But I think it's a bit irresponsible of a company making a component not to have the drivers."

Dell, who met PM Tony Blair this morning, also talked about his venture capital business, Dell Ventures, which is looking to invest in Europe. The group has made around 90 investments in the US in the past year, worth $1 billion.

Dell said he was hunting for stakes in companies involved with wireless technology, servers and storage firms, or Internet or Linux-related investments. ®

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