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Schuckenbrock's example is a stolen laptop. A thief makes off with one of your salesman's computer, and the first time that computer is connected to the internet, Dell's software deletes all the sensitive data on the machine and helps authorities locate the thief, as if police cared that much about stolen laptops. Shuckenbrock says that the system is "protecting the most important asset – the information." This is probably little consolation to the poor salesman who was pistol-whipped in the street, as he is more replaceable than the bytes on his hard drive.

The talk ends with Michael Dell touting how "green" his servers are and that energy-efficient computers have saved customers billions in electricity costs. No talk about green computing would be complete without some butt-happy video amalgamation of nature scenes and good looking white people set to an acoustic guitar soundtrack, and Dell's is no exception. Dude, you're getting a sales pitch thinly veiled as an appeal to communal obligation.

Now, what any of this has to do with Salesforce is a bit of a mystery. The closest this boredom-bus came to anything the audience wanted to hear was a short video from inside one of Salesforce's data centers. This presentation had nothing to do with Salesforce products, but it did emphasize Dell's role in the Salesforce architecture. It was hosted by some guy named Klaus who told everybody how great Dell servers were. The video was a disservice to other people named Klaus, divorcing us from the romantic notion that they spend their days bench pressing Volkswagens and kicking Soviet-bloc-terrorist ass all across Eastern Europe.

In the end, though, it's clear that times have changed. Gone are the days of conserving by doing more with less. Ahead are the days of doing the same with more. Buy a bunch of new laptops for sales staff and spend half your IT budget on yet another systems management solution. As long as you're spending money on Dell products, they will tell you that you're headed for success, no matter what irresponsible or short-sighted management strategy your company employs. This will be an interesting couple of months for computer manufacturers, facing the stark reality that customers will make do with old laptops for another year and don't see why they need a new software patch management system.

As for Dell: Dude, you're probably getting a Q4 loss. ®

Ted Dziuba is a co-founder at Milo.com You can read his regular Reg column, Fail and You, every other Monday.

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