After a Brutal Year, Dell Makes Nice To Investors Again


Dell spent much of the past year in radio-silence mode with its shareholders, while myriad investigations into its accounting and financial reporting dug into a series of errors and acts of misconduct.

Dell, Round Rock, Texas, was delinquent in filing reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It postponed meetings with analysts and investors. It posted bare-bones press releases each quarter with an outline of its financial results, but then its top executives didn't make themselves available to explain anything.

Nasdaq threatened repeatedly that it would de-list Dell unless it came back into compliance with regulations that require quarterly financial reports signed by top company officials.

While the SEC and federal prosecutors at Foley Square continue their investigations, the Audit Committee of Dell's Board of Directors ended its investigation into a few years' worth of accounting. Earlier this week, the company filed its delinquent reports, and yesterday Dell said Nasdaq told the company is back in good graces:

On October 31, 2007, Dell received a letter from the Board of Directors of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC confirming that the Company has regained compliance with all Nasdaq rules, including Rule 4310(c)(14), based on the Company's filing of certain periodic reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on October 30, 2007, and that the Company's securities will continue to be listed on Nasdaq.

Last night, Dell celebrated the way many celebrate these days: It launched a blog.

Dell Shares is a web log aimed at communicating with investors, according to the company's director of Investor Relations, Lynn Tyson:

Dell Shares is a new effort, maybe among the first in the industry, to establish an Investor Relations blog that not only increases the flow of information, but also opens up a dialogue. As Michael Dell recently noted there are conversations going on about us all the time and we want to be part of those conversations -- to listen, to learn and to contribute. We hope Dell Shares will be among your choices of places to come for perspective and commentary on Dell.

In the meantime, investigations continue and Dell remains under assault by competitors in a hyper-competitive industry. It reports earnings on Nov. 29, and executives will answer questions in a follow-up conference call. Radio silence is over. Whether it's a clear signal or static is up to Dell.