Dell Execs Behind The Scenes: We Can't Flip-Flop On Strategy

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Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell partner, offered insight from the partner perspective.

"Overall, one of the interesting things in working with public companies is, if everyone watched their stock price, then nothing would get done," Tanenhaus said. "So everybody is saying they keep rowing forward and focus on the business."

Even so, Tanenhaus said, the word from Dell's top executives is that the focus of the company will continue to be on turning Dell into an enterprise-focused IT provider regardless of the outcome of the shareholder vote.

"What's been trickling down from up high is, it doesn't change the plan," he said. "No one will wake up one day and see the plan is changed. But, it will accelerate the plan. If Dell goes private, people there will not be looking at what Wall Street is saying. But, the plan will be more aggressive."

One thing not addressed in all the discussions about Dell's privatization bid is the growing number of Dell deals that are being held up, he said.

"For us, the larger the customer, the more the hesitation," he said. "But other large customers think that if they close deals now, they can get the maintenance for the deals locked in."

Should Icahn and his allies end up preventing Dell from going private, it could mean even more problems for partners looking to close deals, Tanenhaus said.

"Icahn is noted for creating value by buying a company and selling off pieces," he said. "If that happens, Dell all of a sudden could be 18 new companies."

Roger Michelson, vice president and COO at BNMC, an Andover, Mass.-based solution provider and Dell partner, said it is frustrating to him and to the Dell employees with whom he works to watch the back-and-forth discussions about Dell's privatization bid.

"Dell made all these acquisitions over the years, and is moving into services," Michelson said. "So Dell partners can go to customers with a complete solution with services bundled around it. We could never do that before. But, Wall Street doesn't really see it. The frustration is that the company gets punished by those who only look at the number of products pushed this quarter, when that's not the business Dell is in today."



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