Michael Dell's DellWorld keynote: Notable for what he didn't - or couldn't - say

Details about the Dell-EMC deal, enterprise and overall core strategy were omitted from keynote.

Dell CEO Michael Dell had promised to deliver a "new theory of the universe" during his Dell World 2015 keynote on Wednesday. Well, it didn't quite work out that way.

Rather, Dell spent well over an hour running down the virtues of his company's pending $67 billion mega-merger with EMC, listing the vast array of products and services the combined entity will bring to market, as well as its main strategic plans.

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In doing so, Dell employed some high-minded rhetoric indeed. "We are going to build the world's infrastructure for the next 20 or 30 years," he told the Dell World audience. "You're going to cure cancer. You're going to feed and water the world. You're going to create hope and opportunity on a global scale."

Seven Big Targets

The Dell-EMC "dream combination," it will focus on digital transformation, the Internet of Things, software-defined data centers, big data analytics, hybrid cloud computing, mobility and security, Dell said.

Meanwhile, EMC has an "unmatched reputation" in the Fortune 1000, while Dell is equally strong the midmarket and small business world, he added.

Dell declared EMC the best in the industry at incubating new technologies. The combined company will also mirror EMC's federated business structure, according to Dell.

The merger is the largest in tech history and will take EMC private. It's often said the advantage of going private means companies can focus on innovation without the constant pressure to raise revenue and profits publicly-owned ones face.

Dell did provide one interesting statistic as evidence this is true: Dell's patent filings increased by 27 percent over the past year, which is a company record. It has more than 8,000 issued and pending patents, he added.

The Bottom Line

This was a product-heavy, feel-good keynote--replete with a cozy and jokey onstage conversation between Dell and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella--and not the blueprint for a new tomorrow.

What vision Dell did spell out is dependent on a successful merger and integration with EMC, a job that's far from done and which carries significant risk.

But Dell's talk didn't--or in fairness, couldn't--address some of the most pressing customer questions about the deal, such as product rationalization and overlap, how the companies' cultures will merge, and potential changes to sales and support operations.

Also missing from Dell's strategy rundown? Any substantive discussion of enterprise applications. Obviously, these aren't a core offering of either Dell or EMC, but the lack of attention to the topic was a bit surprising when you consider that all of the strategic areas Dell-EMC will pursue underpin the emerging next generation of enterprise applications. Too much for one keynote, perhaps.

Constellation Insights

Constellation Insights provides members with daily analysis of breaking news across the enterprise. Insights will be available in November 2015. Learn more about Constellation Insights.

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