Was it the Dell model that broke IBM's back?

Was it the Dell model that broke IBM's back?

Summary: The more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to believe that Dell is largely responsible for forcing IBM to divest itself of the PC business. This isn't news.

The more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to believe that Dell is largely responsible for forcing IBM to divest itself of the PC business. This isn't news. Looking back over the course of PC manufacturer history, try to name one buckled PC manufacturer that ultimately didn't crack under the stress of Dell's direct, build-to-order model. The little guys were the first to go and the big guys like IBM and HP have managed to hang on thanks to critical mass and a lot of bundling. For example, it has been almost 15 years since I left IT, but I was an IBM customer and I distinctly remember how my company got discounts on the big iron in exhange for promises to buy a certain amount of the little iron (back then, these were IBM's MicroChannel-based PS/2). That annual quota cut directly into our purchases of the lesser expensive ISA-based PCs from two companies: PCs Limited and Zenith.

Over the coming year, as the general media begins its in-depth chronicling of this defeat for IBM, Michael Dell will no doubt be immortalized as the kid who started a company (and a revolution) in his college dorm room that eventually broke the back of the IBM PC Company. That company, by the way, didn't start off with "Dell" as its name. It was PCs Limited.

Topic: PCs

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  • In response to "Was it the Dell Model that broke IBM's Back"

    A little bit of HISTORY about me is this: I started in computers way back in 1986 and have seen first-hand all the changes in the industry.From the viewpoint of hardware,I have seen many a small PC manufacturer fold.I can tell you honestly it was the Apple 2 that initially prompted IBM to manufacture the Home PC.The Compaq Laptop started shortly after.Dell came into the Mix (Note that Microsoft's Bill Gates was working side-by-side with alot of these manufacturers during this mix of events..namely IBM)Somewhere during that time.Michael Dell was applying the pressure on IBM to improve their PC.IBM was a bit slow in that developement (as to why Bill Gates left IBM intirely to focus on Microsoft in 1976-77)IBM made a habit of "Dragging their feet" in the developement of the personal computer (dubbed PC) because they thought that the personal computer was just going to be a passing trend.So they remained dilegent and watched the computer craze as it was developing.During this particular time frame,IBM had only 3 models out on the market (please correct me if I am wrong) the IBM XT 8080,The IBM XT 8088,and the new PS/1 Model.Noting that the Radio Shack "Tandy" PCs didn't arrive on the market yet till 1987 thru 1989.
    What I am instinctively saying is simply this.. Dell and Compaq were the two IBM "Clones" that not only hit the market,they were instrumental in competing against IBM to produce more affordable PCs for home use.Note that it was IBM that manufactured the most expensive portable PC ever on record.A price tag of $3000.00 (roughly estimated) for their portable PC.At this present time,I am running (the laptop I am writing this on) is a Older Dell inspiron 5000 running linspire/linux version 5.0.I did have XP pro on it as well.the product still works nicely with the OSes we have out today (with a few upgrades of choice) and behaves very well.Another laptop I own at this time is an antiquated IBM thinkpad 600 with Windows XP pro on it.. it too works and behaves well in the most extreme enviroments.I can say that over the years,the main 3 PC manufacturers Dell,IBM,and HP/COMPAQ have endured.
    In the very begining,Would you believe that there was a make of computer called the "Columbia"? think about that one a bit...lol..
    As far as software? well Microsoft has endured through all sorts of critical mass from windows 1.0,2.0,and 3.0 clear up.Bill gates helped write PS/2 OS for IBM and left it with a prototype of PS/3 originally written for IBM but was Nixed when bill started Microsoft.That OS later became NT3.0,then NT4.0 (windows with teeth),windows 2000 professional and then XP Home and Pro editions..I own all the versions myself.So,with that having been said,I think the history has been told (chuckle).. bye for now..Mike Houlden
    Mike Houlden