Dell: The future matters, but we're not talking

Dell: The future matters, but we're not talking

Summary: 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 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.

Topic: Dell

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  • Given the choice...

    I just spent almost $100k on new computing hardware for a big tech refresh and architecture shift (at least big by my school's standards). The two obvious choices were Dell and HP. Even a year ago, my decision probably would have been pretty tough, but the engineering/sales team HP assigned to me was so fantastic, their pricing so competitive, their proposed solution so robust that the decision was very straightforward. Dell's solution, support, pricing, etc., weren't bad, they just didn't scream "Buy Me!" like HP. It's going to take a lot more than business-speak from Dell to start winning back customers.

    ...Chris Dawson
  • Dell also needs to strengthen their Design & Engineering

    I think Dell needs a change in their design & engineering arm. From a customer perspective, even though dell is price competitive, dell 's products lack creative and stylish design, bulky, heavy and lower performance. When a customer decide to buy a product, its not only the cost that matter. For example, for a server, the most factors to look at are performance, buying costs and running/maintain cost where Dell servers are not competitive in performance and running/maintain cost. For a laptop, style, portability and performance will come before cost where Dell laptops are very dull in style, heavy in weight and in terms of performance is average. So how can they compete with other if today's customer are looking more on style.
  • Dell Needs to start showing some serious action..

    on their idea website.
  • Dell a victim of her own success.....

    You can not provide exciting products and be the cheapest. You can't spend on R&D
    and be the king of bottom dollar. You can't hire real design tallent and own the
    market because of your pricing. There is not having your cake and eating it too.
    Something has to give. Problem is if you try to "adjust" you end up rocking a
    relatively smooth running ship that was made to do the one thing sell cheap and
    instead of making progress in another direction you often cripple the whole works.

    Pagan jim
  • Try to be No. 1 in innovation.

    E.g. if 90%+ of the market is Windows, it means that at least 90% of the market if free to explore for an alternative OS ... if this OS is very convenient for users, where No. 1 target is governments, businesses, ... because this is sort of free advertisement for the rest (e.g. it could be a single or sort of Parallels Desktop where two or more OSs can function like the one - apps can share the same "face"). Then regular users will come too. [b]Note[/b]: in a dual-OS PC users can use Windows apps that Linux doesn't have and [i]save money[/i] by replacing MS Office with a Linux-based alternative, for security purpose to cut off Windows from Internet and use Linux instead, etc.

    E.g. besides Linux-Windows combinations organize a page where users can buy or download for free Linux-software they need.

    On this web-page, please, divide Linux-software on useful topics (e.g. Office, Graphics, Audio/Video, Organizers, etc.); plus let ALL Linux-developers to advertise their product on this web page, add support-forum and customer?s reviews, [u]job-hunters[/u], etc.

    Why so? Because a typical user wants easy solution since that they usually do not have enough energy to process new information (e.g. to learn a new OS or new apps). When everything they need is easy accessible and Dell can provide service (installation, support, ...) and the price will be acceptable ? they have no reasons not to buy it. [b]Note[/b]: not all clients can grow money on the "oil" tree.

    Just imagine a typical user who wants to try a preloaded Linux ? he/she needs to spend lots of time to find a reputable company and replacement to their Windows applications. Not everybody wants this hassle. So help them and you will increase your sales too.


    Ask what users need most. For example there is a problem ? when all the ports are behind the PC?s face ? the PC looks good, but the ports are not easy accessible; if ports are in the front ? it?s convenient but it hurts the beauty of the PC. As for me, it would be helpful to invent alternative solutions:

    1.) Put ports into a turntable at the bottom .. and a user will be able to turn them as he/she wishes - in the front, left or right side of the PC.

    2.) Even better ? you can make it removable (all ports can be separated from the PC with a single cable or wireless). For this purpose you need an adapter/?middleman? between the hardware and the removable base with an option for a user to add/change hardware (it?s easy in my opinion, but maybe it?s only for me).

    3.) There are other solutions too ... but they require more details to mention them here.

    Of course I would prefer to change the entire design of a PC to an optical version (in order to boost everything) ..., but this is a too complicated for execution idea.

    At least Dell could make a simple start and beat Apple in the meaning of innovation.

    Good luck.

    [b]P.S.[/b] I do not understand why the majority needs Vista [b]now[/b] if most apps do not work properly or do not work at all (with Vista)?
    Vily Clay