Michael Dell: We’re still serious about PCs and want to grow our retail business

Over the last 12 months Dell has made a dramatic shift in its strategy that could see it become the number one PC vendor in the world.

For many years Dell sold computers direct to customers, but over the past few years it struck distribution deals with the likes of Ingram Micro to offer a larger range of products – software, hardware and services – to commercial customers in the channel.

In 2015 alone Dell has made its portfolio available to Tech Data and also signed a deal with Exertis to bring its products back to retail. Another big change for the firm was, of course, going from a public to a private company back in late 2013.

But having just announced its plans to acquire VMware owner EMC in a bumper deal worth around £44 billion, is it really serious about retail? Or does Dell’s future lie solely in the datacentre?

The company’s founder and CEO Michael Dell told PCR: “We’ve had 11 quarters in a row gaining share in our client business, so that should indicate that we’re quite serious about the PC business.

“The last time we strung together 11 quarters of growth was in the 1990s. So one of the things that we said we were going to do when we went private was to grow our share of the PC sector. We’re doing that.

“If you look at our recent line-up of the new XPS13, XPS12 and XPS15, they are really fantastic products doing quite well. There are 1.8 billion PCs in the world and 600 million of them are over four years old. Windows 10 is doing very well, we are absolutely committed to that space and the retail consumer is an important growth component of it.”

He continued: “We’re certainly more in the commercial space today, but our brand is well regarded, we’ve got fantastic products and brand in consumer, and we are reasserting ourselves in the consumer space in key countries here in Europe. We also have a fantastic cult brand in Alienware, which has resonated very well with the gaming community.

“To give you a sense for some of the things we’re doing in our consumer business, in China, where we’ve had really spectacular growth, we have almost 12,000 Dell exclusive stores that sell our products and a number of Alienware exclusive stores as well.

“And so we’re working with retailers in the UK and other countries to grow the retail consumer business.”

Michael Dell spoke about PCs being one of four ‘big pillars of IT today’ – the others being servers, storage and virtualisation, with enterprise making up around 70 per cent of its business.

“Our new company will absolutely be a leader in all of those key parts of the IT of today,” he commented.

“In addition, our company will be a leader in the IT of tomorrow, which we think of as the third platform.

“This is what a lot of our customers are thinking about: ‘How do I transform my business?’ Digital transformation, the software-defined datacentre, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobile and security.

“We do all of this with a company that has unmatched reach, with the largest customers in the world, all the way down to the smallest ones in almost every country in the world, a company with over $80 billion in revenues, with unmatched scale, strength and innovation and supply chain.

“We’ve had really fabulous growth in our partner program in the last few years as we’ve been focused on building more solutions, and partners have become increasingly important in delivering those to a wide set of customers.”

Read more from Dell’s 2015 EMEA Solutions Conference in the latest issue of PCR. You can read the digital edition of the December issue here.

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