CEO Michael Dell: Being a Private Company 'Just Delightful'
You continue to say PCs are an important part of what you do. Why are PCs important, considering what's been happening in the industry? First of all, there's this question of definition, right? What's a PC? Is a tablet a PC? You seem to think along those lines, that a tablet is a PC. Yeah, if you look at a lot of people with tablets, they have tablets with keyboards. A tablet with a keyboard feels a lot to me like a notebook. Of course, if I were to line up 10 products and say, "Which of these are a tablet and which one is a notebook?" you'd be hard-pressed to get everyone to agree on where the line is. … That's sort of the reality we're in.It seems to be that in this area, being a private company gives you flexibility as far as pricing and as far as R&D. Absolutely. You think about the suppliers in this industry. They know what we're capable of, and they've been incredibly supportive in getting behind us as we've gone to accelerate our growth. When you're talking about mobile [at the show], you're not just talking about tablets; you're talking about the infrastructure that supports mobile, you're talking about security. What is Dell's strategy for mobile? It's enterprise mobility management—how do you secure and protect your information wherever it resides, giving people on your team the freedom to use whatever device they want but do it in a secure way? Sometimes those are our devices, but not always. Certainly we're going after tablets in a big way. Tablet growth has been super-fast, but there's certainly tons of smartphones out there as well. Acquisitions have been an important part of your strategy over the past five years. As a private company, what can we expect to see as far as acquisitions? Are more big ones on the way, or is this more a matter of smaller acquisitions to fill some holes you might have? I don't think there are major areas where we are missing capability. Now you're seeing a lot of organic innovation, activating the almost 20,000 people we have in Dell developing the products, applications and technologies with this billion-plus R&D budget applied to all the challenges that we see from customers. We completed an acquisition right in the middle of [the effort to go private], Enstratius, which formed the basis of the Dell Cloud Manager. We also announced this new venture fund [$300 million Strategic Innovation Venture Fund]. We don't have to acquire every company; we can also partner. We talked a lot about what we're doing with Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, Red Hat, Accenture, Dropbox. There's not a company on the planet that doesn't want to partner with us, given our reach and access to customers. It's a combination of organic investment, acquisitions, alliances, partnerships.
Then there's 500 million of these things being sold. We're selling millions per week. For a dead business, that's pretty good. And it's growing, too. I think we're consolidating share. Certainly there are some guys that are losing share. We had very strong sales the last 45 days. We've introduced a ton of great new products—Latitude, Venue, our Precision workstation, Chromebooks. We're igniting all kinds of interesting things on the product line. We're big on virtual clients. It gives us scale, and it's a great way for us to introduce ourselves to new customers. We kind of take that relationship from client to server to storage, networking, services, software, systems management, security, vertical applications, financing and end-to-end [solutions].