Dell CEO Michael Dell noted his company's fourth quarter results were disappointing, "but what matters is our future plan of action."
Unfortunately, Dell has chosen to clam up beyond that statement. Dell has chosen to forgo an earnings conference call--a bad move when you're trying to cast a new image. Instead, Dell gives shareholders, customers and the media the silent treatment. Sure there's an SEC investigation to worry about but conference calls are important: You hear about demand, the outlook, some pricing info and maybe a few nuggets about blade servers. How about those Ideastorm results? What's Dell cooking up?
Instead, there's a press release that outlines the figures, which weren't that hot to begin with. Speaking of figures, Dell reported earnings per share of 30 cents a share on revenue of $14.4 billion. The results beat estimates by a penny, but sales were light compared to Thomson Financial estimates of $14.8 billion.
CEO Dell talks about the transformation underway in a statement, but it would be nice to hear it from the horse's mouth. The canned comments:
The company is moving quickly to strengthen its management team, unify business units, and eliminate redundancies, while redeploying resources to drive greater value for customers. The company also said it is moving to shorten product development cycles, make decisions closer to the customer, and develop new approaches to manufacturing and distribution to better reach and serve customers in fast-growing and emerging markets.
It might want to hurry up with that transition. Server sales were up two percent, mobility products sales fell 2 percent and desktop units declined 18 percent. Dell did report reduced call transfers, which may signal improved customer service.
As for the outlook, Dell said:
The company is focused on transformational efforts that are designed to yield improving operational results, customer experience, financial performance and shareholder value. These investments in the coming quarters should produce a more optimal balance of growth, profitability and liquidity over the long term. In the next several quarters, however, the company expects that growth and margins will continue to be under pressure as it implements and refines these actions.
In other words, Dell's still struggling and HP is eating its lunch. Hopefully, Dell will talk about it three months from now.