Dell is a PC company (for now): The numbers don't lie

Dell is a PC company (for now): The numbers don't lie

Summary: Dell doesn't want to be known as a PC company, but the numbers indicate that the company has more work to do.

TOPICS: Hardware, Dell

Dell executives have portrayed the company as an IT outfit that can't be pigeon-holed in the PC world anymore. Those statements, however, are largely aspirational today. By the numbers, Dell is very tethered to the trusty PC.

The quote heard around the tech world on Monday came from Dell enterprise chief Brad Anderson. He told PC Pro that "we're no longer a PC company, we're an IT company."

There's a lot of nuance in that statement. Today, Dell is clearly focused on growing its software business, adding value to data centers, moving more into storage and targeting verticals with services. All of these new focus areas have come via acquisition, but it's clear where Dell is headed. Dell's messaging and focus is on being more than a PC vendor.

I don't doubt that Dell will get away from the PC business. Dell's strategy looks solid.

But then there's reality and those pesky numbers. Anderson's comments came just a few days after Dell reported its fourth quarter results. Those financials indicate that no matter how you slice Dell's report it's a PC company. The numbers don't lie.

By the numbers:

  • In the fourth quarter, Dell's large enterprise revenue was $4.91 billion. Of that sum, 43 percent was attributed to client---a word for PCs. That percentage works out to $2.1 billion.

  • Public sector revenue in the fourth quarter was $3.95 billion and 42 percent, or $1.66 billion, of that sum was client.
  • SMB revenue was more of the same. Fourth quarter revenue was $3.98 billion for SMB and 53 percent of sales, or $2.11 billion, was related to client.
  • The consumer business delivered revenue of $3.2 billion and 84 percent of that sum $2.68 billion was related to PCs.

When you look at the consumer business and its 1.2 percent operating margin it's obvious why Dell wants to move away from PCs. Dell just doesn't make much money on consumer PCs. The PC business could be a death trap.

However, Dell does garner supply chain efficiencies on servers by keeping PCs around. Sound familiar? HP has the same story.

Dell doesn't want to be known as a PC company, but the numbers say something different. Aspiration is one thing. Today's revenue reality is something completely different.

Topics: Hardware, Dell

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Dell is a Junk Company

    I'd never trust my business with Dell networking or server gear. Their PC's are garbage and cheap. Slow and unreliable and very cheap feeling.

    So why would I want to purchase anything from a company with poor customer service, poor quality ratings, and an overall poor track record? Sounds like a recipe for failure.

    Mr. Dell, might I suggest you close up, sell the assets and return the money to the shareholders.
    • Yawn.

      itguy10 - might I suggest you close up, dump your screen name, and return these boards to the grown-ups.

      You jusyt keep saying the dumbest things.
      William Farrel
  • Good luck

    Wonder why all these well known "PC" companies now want so badly to get away from the PC business? Maybe because for years they've done nothing but race to the bottom of the barrel, offering no type of innovations just cheap junk and seeing razor thin margins. And tarnishing their brand.
  • Of course they're a PC company...

    They're trying to send a message to the stock market to focus on their IT business because they know the PC segment is in trouble.