Michael Dell To AOC’s Remarks On Billionaires: ‘You Are Incorrect’

Dell Technologies CEO and founder Michael Dell responds to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent comments that ‘no one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.’


Dell Technologies CEO and founder Michael Dell took to social media to fight back against U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who in a recent interview said billionaires only “take a billion dollars” and never earn it.

“No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars,” said Ocasio-Cortez, popularly known as AOC, in a recent interview with author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates on stage during a recent event. Ocasio-Cortez was discussing income inequality, faults in capitalism and billionaires’ grip on power in America.

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor and economist Robert Reich, tweeted the video of Ocasio-Cortez on stage and said “AOC is right,” adding that American billionaires do not earn $1 billion, rather accumulate vast amounts of money from things like insider-trading, inheritance, fraud or profiting from a monopoly.

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On Saturday, Michael Dell replied to both Ocasio-Cortez and Reich on Twitter, “You are incorrect.”

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You are incorrect

— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) January 25, 2020

Michael Dell is ranked by Forbes as the twenty-fifth richest person in the world, worth around $32 billion. Many people responded to Dell’s comments to Ocasio-Cortez and Reich on Twitter, some with criticism and others touting the CEO as a self-made billionaire.

Dell was built with diligence and innovation and minimal outside capital. Super scrappy and constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency. A just-in-time manufacturing pioneer offering one of the first dynamic e-commerce configurators #nojoke #startups

— brianshin (@brianshin) January 26, 2020

Dell founded his company in 1984 inside his dorm room at the University of Texas in Austin. He began selling PCs directly to consumers in the 1980s, which in 1992 at the age of 27, made him the youngest person to ever head a Fortune 500 company.

In the 1990s, Dell extended beyond desktop computers and laptops to servers, and later into storage and virtualization with the blockbuster $67 billion acquisition of EMC. Dell Technologies is now a $91 billion infrastructure giant and the worldwide market leader in servers, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure.

One former Dell Technologies executive, who is now a president of a solution provider who partners with Dell, said he understands Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks but disagreed with its broad reach.

“I believe some billionaires do ‘take’ -- as she says -- a billion dollars. However I don’t think that applies to Michael,” said the executive, who declined to be identified. “Michael really started off self-employed. He’s done everything mostly himself from a leadership point of view in terms of innovation and sales execution and evolving to meet IT markets demand.”

The solution provider president says many billionaires from the technology industry either rose through the ranks of a company or built a company from the ground up and became wealthy after decades of hard work. For example, he said Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri started as a customer service engineer for Hewlett Packard in the 1990s, climbing the ranks for over 20 years before becoming CEO.

“What she’s saying about billionaires can definitely be true, but it’s too far reaching and broad to say every billionaire gains huge wealth in some sort of scheme or negative fashion,” he said.