Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Dell: PCs? Those Old Things? We’re All About the Enterprise Now!

Having once helmed the world’s largest maker of personal computers, Michael Dell says the company that bears his name should no longer be known primarily for PCs.

In an interview with CNBC (embedded below), Dell described the company as an “end-to-end solutions provider,” and not so much a PC company. Servers are a lot more profitable and are contributing about half of Dell’s profits, he said. Rather than emphasize the $250 billion PC market, he’d prefer to focus on the $2.75 trillion enterprise IT business.

Dell’s tone is surprisingly upbeat given his company’s latest quarterly results, which saw earnings drop 18 percent and spurred a batch of analyst downgrades the following day. Even so, he’s looking ahead for Windows 8 to give his consumer business a kick later this year.

His comments also coincide with the release of new servers from Dell at events in San Francisco and London today. Dell’s PowerEdge and EqualLogic storage arrays got upgrades today.

One thing you won’t see, though, is Dell trying to spin off its consumer PC business. As Hewlett-Packard learned the hard way, having a large PC business gives a company like Dell the scale it needs to deal with component suppliers who are willing to give it good prices on parts like chips and hard drives and all the other things that go into building a server. So while Dell isn’t primarily known for its PC business — it’s now third second in the market after HP Lenovo and ahead of Acer, after all — it still needs it.

(Note: I kinda mangled Dell’s position in the market when I first wrote this, and then further mangled it when I tried to correct it yesterday. Sorry about that.)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik