In Michael Dell's talk to customers and the media in New York social issues--such as the OLPC project and green IT--were front and center. Of course, Vista uptake and Dell 2.0 were also topics. Here are excerpts from Dell's chat:
Dell was asked by a small business owner about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and the hubbub over the debate whether Nicholas Negroponte or the PC industry's efforts were best. Here's what Dell had to say:
From there, he talked about the possibility of recycling PCs to meet the same goal. "125 million computers come out of circulation every year. Those 125 million computers are about as powerful as the $100 computer. Would be a better idea to reuse those computers? The challenge nobody wants them since they don't do very much. Could governments distribute?. And do the people getting those need those computers more than they need other things."
"It's not quite as simple as just sell them all for $100."
Dell's impact on green IT: "We've spent a lot of time on this topic. We're looking at everything. No part of the company is spared from the analysis of what makes this a more environmentally friendly company. The biggest impact we can have is to reduce the power consumption of our products. That's a dramatic impact. We took the energy consumption of highest volume product down 80 percent. Power supply efficiency wasn't the main thing. It was software changes."
Emerging markets: "Just in the last 90 days our unit volume became larger outside the U.S. than inside," said Dell.
Vista's uptake (Dell tread very lightly here): "We are seeing Vista penetration increase in businesses. We're certainly going to offer XP and Vista for quite some time as customers ask for it," said Dell.
However, he was also sure to note that folks will move to Vista--for the support from Microsoft if anything. "While you're not going to go to Vista today you might want to think about when you're going to Vista," said Dell. He added that Dell keeps track of the split between Vista and XP as a customer choice. Naturally, Dell wouldn't disclose figures.
On Dell 2.0:
"We've made a little bit of progress, but have a long way to go. We set out to transform the company. There are things working well. A bunch of areas to improve and new things to do to reignite our growth. You'll see some additional partnerships and acquisitions."
On product design: "We're kind of in the fashion business. We've been putting quite a bit more energy into this. It will be reflected in future products," said Dell. He was also asked if he had an iPhone in the pipeline. The answer: No.