Michael Dell talks OLPC, green IT, Vista uptake and Dell 2.0

Michael Dell talks OLPC, green IT, Vista uptake and Dell 2.0

Summary: 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.


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:

"It's not a question of what it costs, but what does it do," said Dell.

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 delltimesquare.pngtopic. 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.

Also see:

Topics: Hardware, Dell, Microsoft, Windows

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  • Recycled has a place, but it won't work as an entire solution

    The problem with trying to use "retired" PCs as replacements is at least fourfold in the market OLPC, etc want to fill.

    1) The machines are power hungry monsters. Electricity (source and access) is not widespread in the markets for OLPC.
    2) They don't have a fully configured and hardened standardized OS.
    3) They are not portable for the kids to take from class to class, etc.
    4) They don't form an autonomous wireless mesh with all the others around them.

    That isn't to say computer labs, etc should not re-use them, but that is a different goal than OLPC. Specifically, One Laptop Per Child.

  • This speaks volumes for Vista....

    He added that Dell keeps track of the split between Vista and XP as a customer choice. Naturally, Dell wouldn?t disclose figures.
    • re: This speaks volumes for Vista....


      Considering that Dell is selling XP Professional on low to mid-line business-class PCs and not on high-end or consumer PCs, what part of the market is being targeted?

      And remember, XP has a "don't sell past" date of January 1st, 2008 for OEMs.

      Also note that Dell has not released figures on their Ubuntu-equipped system sales. I wonder why that is...
      M.R. Kennedy
      • RE:re: This speaks volumes for Vista....

        Also note that Dell has not released figures on their Ubuntu-equipped system sales. I wonder why that is...

        Same reason they are not releasing the numbers for Vista/XP. They are not reflecting want Microsoft wants to see.
        • Actually they've probably communicated

          the numbers to Microsoft, they're just not public. It would be in Dell's best interest to communicate the numbers to all parties involved.

          First, if you tell someone that their product is not selling then they have bargaining power with the supplier (negotiate price reduction, etc.)

          Second, if you have open disclosure with your vendors then you release yourself from potential litigation. I mean if each party knows that they are either selling product or not then it's up to the suppliers to remedy that situation through marketing, better products, price, etc. If they don't communicate those issues then one could argue that Dell is aiding one supplier or another in order to help one supplier or the other secure a more dominant position.

          Third, both Linux and Microsoft would like to say they are crushing the other, and with the release of the information to the supplier, but under a NDA agreement with both suppliers it makes the suppliers cringe that they can't openly announce their reinforced dominance or increasing market traction.

          Linux has been available to anyone, but it's not until now that people didn't have to hunt down a particular distro. We'll see who wins the game.
          THEE WOLF
          • Additionally

            giving those numbers out today would tell Dell's competitors how many computers they themselves have actually sold.

            Even if they just mentioned percentages, that could still be an issue as if it turns out that people found out Vista is selling better then they thought, it may swing the market towards an even faster uptake on Vista ,leaving Dell holding paid for but not yet sold XP Licenses.
            John Zern
      • Some food for thought

        Dell is expanding it's Linux linup

        Dell is going to offer it's Linux lineup internationally (Not sure of timeframe), but they already partnered there.

        I doubt Dell would be throwing more support behind a "flop". Right now, the best we have is anecdotal evidence that the Dell Ubuntu machines are selling well. International offerings will increase the market, imho, fivefold since Vista is way to expensive over there and Linux is more mainstream on the desktop.

        I think the US is the last stronghold keeping Linux off the mainstream desktop, but it won't last forever, not with continual news streams like these...


        Finally, XP past the 90 day limit MS usually imposes for complete migration for tier one OEMs is the norm, as Shade Tree can attest, but for whatever reason, it did not happen.

        • 90 days for consumer, not bus machines (NT)

      • The part of the market...

        being targeted is the largest market segment. High end consumer PC market is small compared to the business market.
  • Most suits don't get it

    They don't seem to understand the needs of 3rd world countries. I'm glad Negroponte has the vision, resources and connections to make it happen.
    • They do get it. More than we do. It's called

      But, as they say, "it's all good".

    Who cares what that dolt has to say? His company produces garbage and is going down, albeit slowly, but they are going down..

    And it won't happen soon enough.
    • While I agree that Dell is...

      in a downturn they are still big enough to influence the direction of the industry.

      They were big enough to offer Windows 2000 instead of XP while waiting on SP2 to the dislike of Microsoft. And they are big enough to offer XP in the face of Vista to the dislike of Microsoft.

      Anyone big enough to buck MS has to be given credit where credit is due.
    • huh?

      Dell isn't going down and yes they have had some crap lines of computers come out, but for the most part they do have robust machines and great support (if you pay for it, which companies usually do) Desktops are pretty solid, the latitude line of laptops has had some bumps in the road, The inspiron line has been good and I don't know about the XPS line.

      Dell has the best support options, along with IBM/Lenovo, although Lenovo Laptops seem to hold themselves together longer being a bit more durable. Toshibas I haven't bought in years and from my past experience are mostly depot repair which sucks, but the machines were tanks. HP/Compaq are ok, but usually have crapware all over the place, Sony laptops just don't hold up very well. and it goes down from there.

      Dell isn't going away you can be sure of that.
  • olcl picture

    Can't you guys get an up-to-date picture of the oplc? It hasn't had a hand crank for over a year.

  • competition

    Michael Dell is dissing oplc because it competes with the machines his own company makes. In fact oplc is much superior for most educational purposes than any recycled computer.

  • Dell asking government to help? First off, Dell's a republican

    Second of all, most Republicans say government can't do much of anything right. If a big business, who we're said to trust implicitly because government's too inept, wants government help to do something... you bet I'm now worried. :)

    Third of all, how many Dell PCs end up having replaced power supplies and system boards due to cheaply made components that I dare say seem designed to fail long before they really should? Planned obsolescence. That alone causes a real problem with waste, which ain't green.

    Fourth of all, thanks to Dell's outsourcing game, fewer and fewer people give them credibility for the service arena too.
    • Don't confuse . . .

      Republican with Conservative. Dell may well be a Republican but I'm pretty sure he's not Conservative. Other Republicans in favor of Big Government (Liberal) include:

      Lincoln Chaffee (Liberal)
      Olympia Snow (Liberal)
      Ron Paul (the fruit loop running for President)
      George Voinovich (Moderate)
      Christine Tood Whitmann (Fmr. Gov of NJ + Fmr Head of EPA under GW Bush) (Moderate)

      etc . . .

      As for Outsourcing, more Companies do every day. And I don't think that it's right. My company outsourced the Emergency repair call center for our Drivers on the road, and we are experiencing MASSIVE problems, due to the Call center not being able to converse in English with the driver, beyond a prepared script. Most accounts (Like mine) have simply arranged with their local shop to help handle problems and bypass the Call Center.

      As for the Planned obsolescence, I don't know. I've NEVER had any major problems with any of my Dell's, beyond a Power cord that my daughter broke by crushing it under a rocking chair . . .

      What I DON'T like is the custom components that Dell tries to pass off as industry standard . . . My Desktop has a supposedly standard Nividia Geforce 4 64 meg card in it, but in Linux, I can't run beryl on it because it doesn't respond correctly to standard calls made to it. The "Soundblaster live" card in the same machine is the same way, but at least it WILL work correctly, as long as you tell ALSA not to do certain things . . .
      • Correction : It should read Christine TODD WHITMAN . . .(nt)

  • XP - Vista Offering.........

    Oh, now they're going to offer a choice of XP or Vista. Well, when I bought my new Dell Dimension computer in March, I didn't have a choice! I had to take Vista. Oh, I should say that I could have gone the Small Business route instead of the Home User route and paid a couple hundred more, and then I could have the choice of XP. Now I have this buggy Vista machine. Also, about two months ago, a friend of mine called to order a new Dell and had to pay an extra $50 to have XP loaded instead of Vista!!!!! Dell's excuse was that they didn't have many XP licenses left! I've never heard of such a bunch of crap in my life!