Feeds

Focus plus excitement: Michael Dell talks turnarounds

While avoiding trucks

Business security measures using SSL

Interview Despite harsh economic times, Michael Dell hasn’t been complaining. "We've been growing faster than the industry for the last three quarters," the Dell CEO told a group of Latin-American and European reporters.

In Round Rock, Texas, a town which wouldn’t have existed today if Dell hadn't established its headquarters there, Michael Dell walks the Turnaround Walk. Although Dell has a long way to go before it can recapture its former glory, customers are again embracing its products.

"Even the financial sector has enormous requirements to process information; they need more servers and storage than ever before,” Michael Dell explained. “We also profit from emerging countries, where sales of PCs echo the massive growth of the mobile phone. Even here in the US, where industry sales have been practically flat, we managed growth by expanding channel partners and retailers."

It has been more than a year since founder Michael Dell returned to the world's largest PC vendor as CEO. He hired a new slate of managers, including long-time General Electric executive Brian T. Gladden as CFO, but also issued a memo in which he promised to stop the bleeding, find new areas for business growth and eliminate overlaps in the organisation. "The company needed focus, a new direction.”

Since his return, the firm has started selling computers in more than 13,000 stores worldwide and is moving its focus from "cost at all cost, to value," Dell says. "As we move into the consumer and data centre space, there are more opportunities to differentiate ourselves. When we talk to consumers about the brand, people tended to say: Dell is what you get when you work for a big company. They weren’t too excited about our products. We are definitely going to change that by creating unique products with more color, style and personalisation."

Where did that come from?

In the business area Dell of course competes head to head with IBM and HP. "I don't think there is one silver bullet to differentiate us in the business space,” Dell explained. “We have become ten times larger in the past ten years and obviously started offering the same kind of services as our competitors because customers ask for it. But look where we are now. When we started in servers we had zero per cent market share, now we have 28 per cent worldwide and 40 per cent in the US. Where did that come from? Mainly from IBM and HP. Customers preferred Dell.”

Doesn’t HP's acquisition of computer services giant EDS worry Dell at all? "Not really. EDS has only three percent market share. The other 97 per cent comes from dozens of companies, who have intensified their relationship with Dell as a result."

One area Dell intends to invest in is building customer relationships. The company is promoting itself through online communities such as Facebook and recently generated $500m revenues off Twitter (!) by using the microblog service as a sales channel. "We started Dell by listening," Dell says. "Now we are turbocharging our listening by communicating directly with customers through forums and weblogs. It gives us the ability to understand the needs of our customers and to respond faster."

"I won't retire any time soon," Dell said when asked about Bill Gates leaving Microsoft and Steve Jobs’ alleged health issues. "For one, I'm a lot younger than these guys. One question the board asked me when I returned was: What happens when a truck hits you? This is why I’m avoiding trucks. But seriously, you can’t run a company these days as a superstar executive. Our company is build by a team. I’m pretty sure they can manage without me.” ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears
RIP 2001 – 2014. MP3 player beloved of millions. Killed by cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.