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Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell built a PC powerhouse by selling direct, first from his University of Texas dorm room and later from a sprawling campus of his own in Austin. Two years ago he turned to the channel and has since built a $62 billion technology powerhouse with products from the desktop to the data center.
Now he says he is focused on his partner base and in an exclusive interview with CRN, he declared “Dell is now the clear-cut computer maker of choice for the channel.”
Dell spoke with CRN Editor News Steven Burke about his company's channel progress and rival HP's decision to explore strategic alternatives for the HP Personal Systems Group (PSG) business, including a "full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin off or other transaction."
He and his company are making an aggressive push to lure HP partners that are concerned about the future of PSG and HP's PC business. Dell himself wrote a Twitter post Tuesday night: "We love the Channel! Are you a channel partner that has not joined us already? It's never been easier to sign up!" The Tweet included a link to the Dell Partner Direct Web site.
Below are excerpts from the exclusive CRN interview with Dell.
What kind of reaction you have seen from partners in the wake of the HP PC news?
We have had great response from partners and tremendous interest from existing partners and potential new ones around the world since the news.
Look at Dell. We are here to stay. We are committed. If you look at this whole x86 space, we are the x86 partner of choice. There is no other company that has a complete x86 portfolio.
Talk about Dell's channel progress.
We have been growing very, very steadily with strong double digit growth. It's a very significant business heading rapidly towards a third or more of our revenues. I think the reason it has been growing steadily is we have been very consistent in our approach.
It's a straightforward program. Partners love it. We haven't back-tracked. We haven't changed the rules. We have neutralized the comp so that our own teams readily partner with our channel all the time, business as usual. We have acquired companies that are channel driven. We have large numbers of channel-savvy people in the company now. We said what we were going to do. We did what we said we were going to do. We did it again. We just keeping doing it. I think this is a great opportunity for partners that haven't signed up with us to come on in and join.
Our portfolio continues to grow. We just announced the acquisition to be completed soon of Force10 Networks. We have Compellent. We have EqualLogic. We have KACE (systems management appliance). We have SecureWorks. We have Perot Systems. Obviously we have all the servers and all the client products. So we have a full broad spectrum of products. Again, Dell is THE x86 partner of choice. When you think about cloud and client virtualization and all the things that are going on, having an integrated product line from the desktop to the data center to the cloud will be important.