updated 05:00 pm EST, Mon February 27, 2012
Michael Dell backs away from core PC business
Dell's namesake, CEO Michael Dell, made a symbolic statement at an enterprise launch event that his company wasn't really a PC builder. He argued to a San Francisco audience including Forbes that his company, which started off making custom PCs, was "not really a PC company" and instead that it was an "end-to-end IT company that really understands the needs of its customers." As an illustration of this, the introductions were focused not just on servers of all sizes but 10Gbps Ethernet equipment and networked storage.
His statements were partly meant to claim an edge over HP, which Dell saw as catching up on enterprise-level features, but came not long after Apple chief Tim Cook had contended his company was the only one producing innovation in PCs. Dell and HP both objected to the assertion, although they made nothing but generic references to innovation.
For Dell, the statement partly deflects the problems it has had in its own PC business. Although faring better than HP, Acer, and others, it has been growing slowly or losing share where Apple and a handful of others like Lenovo have been growing much faster. Dell's habitual focus on low-end notebooks is believed to have hurt it as some customers considering an entry Inspiron opted for iPads instead.
Much of the company's shift in the past five years has been towards either less volatile services or towards higher-end PCs like the XPS 14z. Premium computers have been shown as less vulnerable to competition and economic crunches, such as when Apple kept growing even at the height of the world economic crisis in 2008 and 2009.