Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Dell Set to Report a Big Earnings Miss Today

DellatCESIn a few hours, computing giant Dell will report another round of quarterly earnings. Good news is not expected.

First off, Dell has moved up the date of its report. Originally set for May 21, the results will come after markets close in New York today and a conference call with analysts will start at 1:45 pm PT.

The reason for the change likely has a lot to do with the fact that Dell is probably going to report another miss on its consensus numbers. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expect Dell to report a 35 cent per-share profit on sales of $13.5 billion. But as The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, Dell expects to announce profits of about 20 cents on $14 billion in sales, a huge bottom-line miss.

It’s difficult to expect much else. Despite all the efforts made in recent years to nudge Dell in the direction of becoming a more enterprise-focused company via acquisitions in the areas of cloud computing, software and services, Dell still derives about 70 percent of its sales, give or take, from consumer or commercial PCs or PC-related accessories like monitors. And as we all know, PC sales are plummeting at a historic rate.

That’s not to say there aren’t potential bright spots. CEO Michael Dell has been crowing about the company’s success in server sales and has described market share losses by rival Hewlett-Packard as “staggering.”

Then, of course, there’s the ongoing saga of Dell’s quest to go private in a $24.4 billion buyout transaction with Silver Lake Partners. Carl Icahn and Southeastern Management, which between them control about 13 percent of Dell shares, are opposed and this week made their own counter-offer, and then nominated a slate of directors to replace Dell’s current board. Icahn has made no secret that he’d like to send Michael Dell packing. The special committee of Dell’s board overseeing the buyout process has asked the Icahn camp for more information.

Certainly there will be questions for management about all of it, though the answers from Dell management will probably be some variation of “no comment.”


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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