Saturday 24 February 2018

Dell and Microsoft are not 'frenemies', but 'friends' - Michael Dell

Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc. Photo Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc. Photo Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Michael Dell says that Dell and Microsoft are not frenemies, but are 'friends'.

Asked about Microsoft starting to sell its own laptops such as the Surface Book, Mr Dell said that it could be a good thing for Dell.

“Satya [Nadell, Microsoft CEO] has got some nice products, even if the prices are pretty high,” he said. “But he’s the ice breaker and we’re going in with volume products. If we can come in with a product that’s more affordable and we can sell 100 times more of them, then that works.”

Mr Dell was appearing on stage with Mr Nadella in front of an assembled audience of IT industry executives and journalists in Austin, Texas.

Asked about the relationship between the two chief executives, Mr Dell said it was a “positive” one.

“I’d say we’re absolutely friends.,” he said. “The industry has always been built on these ecosystems. When I look at what Microsoft is doing with the Surface family of products, they’re pushing Windows 10 into new spaces and driving the platform forward.”

Mr Dell also said that becoming a private company has been a “fantastic” thing for both him and the IT giant.

“I’m convinced that going private was the right decision,” he said.

“A recent Fortune Magazine survey said that 84pc of CEOS believe it would be easier to manage a private company. Or as I like to say, EMC $67bn. But being master of your own destiny? Priceless.”

Mr Dell, who is set to come to Ireland to speak at the Web Summit in November, said that the transition to a private company two years ago has transformed the company’s ability to build new products.

“The last two years have been fantastic for me,” he said. “Last year, we increased the number of patents we filed by 27pc over the prior year. We’re now setting a company record with 8,000 patents. And all of this comes under a private company structure Investing for the long term. There’s no 90 day shock clock.”

Mr Dell said that the absence of having to prepare detailed reports for analysts and shareholders had liberated the company’s decision-making process. He also said that those who doubted the company’s resolve to pursue acquisitions deals.

“When we took this company private, I kept getting asked if we would still do acquisitions,” he said. “Well go big or go home, baby.”

He said that the company’s $67bn EMC acquisition would prove to be a positive move for Dell.

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