Michael Dell Slams HP, IBM As Dell World Gets Under Way

Vindicated. That's how partners attending Dell World described how Michael Dell should feel after his successful bid to take his company private.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell, kicked off Dell World in Austin, Texas, by throwing down the gauntlet against Hewlett-Packard and IBM in a meeting with channel partners Tuesday afternoon.

"It's been a year since we completed our privatization. We couldn't be more pleased with the positioning, progress and the performance of our business," Dell said speaking to a room full of partners.

"There is a lot of turmoil in the industry and not all of it is intended to help you," Dell said. "You heard about some of the companies that are splitting up and slicing and dicing themselves. And you have to ask yourselves, 'Who is this really for? Is this for the customers or the partners?' No. What about the chaos and dis-synergies and complications that come from these changes?"

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Dell said HP's move to split into two separate companies was to help shareholders, not customers. Concerning IBM, he said, "To be in the end-to-end solutions business you have to have both ends. Or else it's the end. We think it's very important to have the complete solution."

Dell's message resonated with many channel partners in the audience, who said their Dell business had doubled if not grown in double digits over the past year.

"Dell has grown as a private company and so have we," said Dan Wieczorek, national account manager, strategic accounts, for Best Buy for Business. "Dell has earned some bragging rights. For the past year HP has been Dell's biggest critic about going private. Now the tables have turned."

Wieczorek said over the past year Dell's sales and solutions teams have been more responsive and helped him crack open new accounts as a true partner. "It used to feel like my biggest competitor was Dell when I tried to sell Dell. But things have turned completely around," he said.

It's that type of close partner alignment, Michael Dell said, that has helped Dell's channel grow between three and four times the pace of the IT industry. The channel accounts for 40 percent of Dell's global revenue today compared with 33 percent last year, according to the Round Rock, Texas, company.

"We are now the fastest-growing large integrated IT company in the world. We are seeing year-over-year growth in every region of the world," Dell said. "Our strategy is resonating with customers worldwide as they look for a stable, reliable end-to-end solutions provider to meet their business and IT needs."

Michael Dell said recent milestones include being the No. 1 storage supplier in the first half of 2014 based on total terabytes sold for internal and external storage, according to IDC data. He said PC shipments grew 10 percent in the second quarter globally, that Dell was the No. 1 IT health-care service provider, and that its enterprise software business was growing revenue by double-digit rates.

"Dell has pulled off something really amazing over the past year," said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell partner. Juxtaposed with industry turmoil and its archrivals splitting and spinning off chunks of their business, Dell looks like a genius, he said.

"Over the past year, Dell's messaging has been consistent and Michael has stood by his privatization decision. So far, that's turned out to be a great move for Dell and for us," Tanenhaus said.

"I believe one of the benefits of going private is being able to dedicate 100 percent of our energy toward the success of our customers and partners," Dell said. "[Going private] has given Dell a focus on a future that is well beyond the next quarter, or the next year, or the next share meeting. It gives us the freedom and focus we love to have and that translates into results."

Dell said the four major themes of this year's Dell World are the customer imperatives of transform, connect, inform and protect.

"You are going to hear how Dell solutions are helping customers transforms their systems, connect their people, connect and gain insights from their data and networks. These customer imperatives are the framework of the entire Dell World experience," he said.

"We feel we are incredibly well positioned with some of the distraction and turmoil that is out there. It’s really a great time for us to get ready for what we think is going to be even a stronger year ahead," Dell said.