CEO Michael Dell: Being a Private Company 'Just Delightful' - Page 2

About five or six years ago, we created something called the Mainframe Migration Factory. This was because we heard from a lot of customers, "Hey, I'm stuck on this mainframe. How do I get off?" It was like going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Like, "How long have you been on?" "Uh, 25 years. Can't get off." (laughs) "How long you been on?" "Twenty-four years. Can't get off." "Twenty-three years. Can't get off." So we said, "We've got to do something about this." "I'm Dave, and I've got a problem with the mainframe." That's literally what it was.

So we started one at a time converting them over. … It was complicated. Then we actually found some companies that had great tools that they had built up, and we started working with them, and we did more and more with them. We said, "These tools are great. Why don't we just buy these companies and accelerate this whole thing and turbo-charge it?" and that's what we've done.

Then you look at the enterprise portfolio. We're pushing the limits of x86 and scale-out and flat-tree networks and software-defined and how you really build the next-generation data center because we don't care about … distributed cores, and we can go and innovate and disrupt where others are trying to entrench and protect. That's a message that also resonates very well because [customers] saw us launch into the x86 space and save a lot of money and become a leader in that space. Now they're seeing it in software, in security and in all sorts of new spaces. That's the opportunity that we have.

Does being a private company give you any sort of advantage over the HPs and the IBMs and the Oracles?

Yeah, I think we can operate more aggressively, sort of attack in a disproportionate fashion. We're already seeing that in our growth. We said on Feb. 5, when we announced the transaction, we were going to be aggressive and gain share, and that's what we're doing. It's harder to do as a public company because you have to balance these short-term earnings. Listen to the conference calls of any of these companies, and you have these investors and analysts asking, "How come this?" or "How come that?" or "Blah, blah, blah …" No thank you. All done with that. (laughs) We don't need you guys. We're done.

This company has strong cash flow, great customer relationships and now has an investor that can invest with fortitude for the long term. That's a tremendous competitive advantage.

Today, with the announcement of your partnership with Red Hat [regarding OpenStack], you really started to stake out what Dell's all about in the cloud. Can you talk about the cloud and Dell's role in it and strategy for it?

"Cloud" is a bit like "Internet" in 1995. It means a lot of things to a lot of people, so we see lots going on in private cloud and companies working to move from virtualization to sort of "software-defined" and private cloud to capture some of the efficiencies of public cloud providers. There's a lot of that going on.