Michael Dell: We're 'Not A PC Company'


Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of the company that bears his name, this week said his company has stepped way beyond its roots as a PC maker and is now a provider of enterprise solutions.

Michael Dell, in a press conference introducing his company's new twelfth generation servers and related new storage and networking offerings, said Monday that Dell the company has changed significantly in only five years.

"Dell is not a PC company," Dell said. "It's an end-to-end solutions company."

[Related: Michael Dell: I Love Storage, I Love The Channel]

Citing as proof that the company has matured beyond its PC roots, Dell listed the acquisition of 12 cloud, storage, and networking vendors in the last two years; the fact that his company was the only company to grow its x86 server business over the last year faster than the entire market; and the company's huge presence in the services business.

In fact, Dell said, Hewlett-Packard's introduction two weeks ago of its ProLiant Gen8 servers also proves how far his company has come over the past few years.

Dell referred to HP not by name but as "a company with fewer letters in its name than ours." He said that while HP introduced 160 new innovations in its ProLiant Gen8 introduction, many of those "innovations" were already available in Dell servers for three or more years.

"I think that what you're hearing today is that the pace of innovation is different for different companies," he said.

About 47,000 of Dell's 110,000 employees are involved in Dell services, he said. And, thanks to Dell's x86 server advances, those services personnel are working with customers and with solution providers to help businesses migrate operations from mainframe and other legacy systems, he said.

"Unlike our legacy competitors in the server space, we're not interested in protecting the legacy," he said.

Michael Butz, Sr., owner and CEO of UltraLevel, a Detroit, Mich.-based solution provider who has dealt with Dell either as a customer or a partner since UltraLevel was founded in 2001, said he is in full agreement with Michael Dell's distancing his company from its PC-centric roots.

"I couldn't agree more," Butz said. "I would take Dell's enterprise compute stack and put it up against anybody's."

Butz said he appreciates how Dell not only has built an enterprise-class business based on a intellectual property from a lot of very smart acquisitions, but also on how it focuses on keeping the idea of an open architecture at the core of its technology.

"I like the fact that Dell has gone with a strategy of open architecture instead of moving towards a proprietary architecture like that of Cisco, HP, and IBM," he said. "An open architecture focus is a breath of fresh air."

It's also important that Michael Dell occasionally blows the trumpet about Dell's transformation, Butz said.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people still remember Dell as a cheap server maker," he said. "Dell today features better quality than HP and IBM. And Dell has done a great job of building on its storage acquisitions. Dell storage has more points of integration with VMware than anyone. Even better than EMC, which owns VMware."

Michael Dell has learned the lesson that an enterprise-class vendor needs the channel to succeed, Butz said.

"He knows the IT business is not just about the price," he said. "It's about the products, and about the channel, and about looking for ways to help us through the business process. And I don't see it tapering off. I see Dell doing more of this over time."