The 10 Biggest Dell Stories Of 2013

A Year Full Of Surprises

To say Dell has had a topsy-turvy 2013 is an understatement. The Round Rock, Texas-based company started the year with a bang when news leaked that it was in talks with private equity firms to go private. Then came the doubters, namely Carl Icahn, who said Dell would be better off remaining a public company and fought founder and CEO Michael Dell for control of his company. Next there were the up-and-down server market-share wars with Hewlett-Packard. Then, of course, there was the big $24.9 billion leveraged buyout that turned Dell into a private company.

But, there was more -- much more. What follows is a top-10 list of the most pivotal moments and biggest news stories for Dell in 2013.

No. 10 Dell Rumor Swirl About Going Private

On Jan. 14, word leaked that Dell was in talks with private equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake Partners to take the company private. The move, as it was reported at the time, was a strategic one that critics said could revive growth in struggling Dell and help the company shift focus away from its commodity PC business and instead project it toward growth via allowing it to leverage recently acquired software and services companies without quarter-by-quarter scrutiny from public shareholders

At the time, Dell declined to comment on the rumors.

No. 9 Server Market Share Smackdown With Hewlett Packard

As the storm clouds gathered above Round Rock's privatization rumors Dell was fighting a very real server market-share battle with HP.

For the first quarter of 2013, IDC's data showed Dell grew its first-quarter North American server shipments by 9.9 percent, while HP's dropped 18.9 percent. By the second quarter, Dell made more significant server revenue gains, according to Gartner and IDC. Gartner reported Dell's piece of the global server revenue pie jumped 10.7 percent compared with the previous year, and IDC estimated it to be up 10.3 percent. HP, for the same quarter, took a worldwide server revenue hit, dropping 17.5 percent year-to-year, according to Gartner and IDC. By the third quarter Dell's winning streak came to a grinding halt. Gartner reported Dell's worldwide server shipments plummeted by more than 14 percent. Meanwhile, HP grew worldwide server shipments by more than 5 percent in the third quarter, halting a slump of eight consecutive quarters of shipment declines.

No. 8 Dell Makes Privatization Bid Official

By February, Dell made it official, announcing it had reached an agreement with private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and other financing companies to go private through a leveraged buyout at $13.65 per share, or $24.4 billion.

No. 7 Dell Wins Epic Battle To Go Private

After an epic battle to buyback his company for $24.9 billion, Michael Dell (pictured) prevailed on Sept. 12 in his efforts to keep control of Dell.

With the backing of private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and shareholders, Michael Dell took his company private, retaining his CEO status and owning 75 percent of the company. Michael Dell said the move was part of a bold new plan to turn Dell into an end-to-end enterprise technology provider -- with increased focus on security software, big data services, and enterprise "IT in a box" hardware and software solutions -- free from Wall Street scrutiny.

No. 6 The Carl Icahn Factor

The Batman had The Joker, Seinfeld had Newman, and Michael Dell had Carl Icahn. Over the past year, the billionaire investor attempted to thwart Michael Dell's efforts to buyback his company, arguing that Dell was better off kept public. Icahn, who put up billions of his own money to invest in Dell, argued shareholders deserved to squeeze more value out of Dell than the initial $13.65-a-share buyout Michael Dell and Silver Lake were willing to ante up.

During his failed bid to take control of Dell, Icahn was a veritable sound-bite machine cranking out relentless critiques of Michael Dell and his company via amusing and sometimes insightful quips, one-liners and colorful quotes mostly sent via his Twitter account. But in September Icahn threw in the towel releasing the statement: "I realize that some stockholders will be disappointed that we do not fight on. However, over the last decade, mainly through 'activism' we have enhanced stockholder value in many companies by billions of dollars. We did not accomplish this by waging battles that we thought we would lose."

No. 5 Dell Positions Itself 'FTW' In 2014

As the new private Dell emerges so do a host of new products, services and priorities. December's Dell World in Austin, Texas, was a coming out party of sorts where Michael Dell took the wraps off the newly private company. At Dell World, the company outlined new priorities for Dell in 2014 included:

* Bringing Dell's direct and indirect sales teams together to work on 200,000 new accounts.

* Expanding solutions offerings via internal R&D, external M&A, and $300 million investments in Dell Ventures.

* Increasing the company's presence in emerging markets.

* Growing the PC, tablet and virtual computing devices business.

* Enhancing and simplifying the customer experience for end-to-end enterprise technology solutions that include security software, big data services, and enterprise hardware and software solutions.

No. 4 Dell Executive Shakeup

Michael Dell put his money where his mouth was when it came to saying a private Dell would mean big changes for the company.

As part of a management shake-up, in mid-November Dell appointed Bill Rodrigues, former vice president and general manager of global business, as its new president of North America and Cheryl Cook (pictured), former vice president of enterprise solutions, as its new vice president of global channels. Rodrigues, a 14-year Dell veteran, replaced Paul Henri Ferrand, a nine-year Dell veteran, while Cook replaced longtime worldwide channel chief Greg Davis, who started the official Dell channel program nearly seven years ago. Davis is moving on to a new role as vice president of software and peripherals at Dell.

The shake-up also put both direct and indirect sales under one organization as part of an effort to reduce channel conflict and boost channel sales as Dell grows its enterprise solutions footprint.

No. 3 Dell Ups Its Server Game

In 2013, Dell earned CRN's Product Of The Year award for its PowerEdge VRTX, a desktop data center capable of housing up to four server nodes, 48 TB of storage and enterprise-grade network switching in a single cabinet or 5U rack enclosure. CRN crowned the hardware for its design, which allows for remote, headless operation and management and boasts a color LCD panel that displays system status and most vital configuration settings. Pricing starts at $2,015.

No. 2 Dell Boosts Its Channel IQ

Dell upped its channel smarts in April, adding channel icon Frank Vitagliano (pictured), a 40-year industry veteran, to its management roster. Vitagliano, who brought with him extensive relationships with a wide swath of networking, security and infrastructure solution providers, joined Dell as its vice president of channel sales, where he oversees all regional (SMB) and specialty solution providers.

In March Vitagliano left his role as senior vice president of Americas Partners for Juniper after spending seven years with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor. Prior to his time at Juniper, Vitagliano was a popular channel executive at IBM, where he spent 33 years before leaving in 2006 to join Juniper.

Dell partners were ecstatic that Dell scooped up a longtime channel leader in Vitagliano as the company worked to build up its PartnerDirect program and stake a bigger claim in the indirect sales market it once shunned.

No. 1 Dell Revamps Channel Program

Dell revamped its Dell Direct and PartnerDirect programs, announcing it would put 200,000 Dell Direct accounts into the channel. Channel partners hailed the move as a way to win significant new business in 2014.

The new Dell channel program, which goes into effect Feb. 1, moves the roughly 200,000 previous Dell Direct accounts into the channel where they will be managed jointly with channel partners and Direct reps. Part of those incentives include a 20 percent "compensation accelerator" for its direct sales team to generate new enterprise business with Dell channel partners. Dell also announced it would quadruple investments in demo and field equipment, as well as in its partner bonus programs.