The 10 Top Dell Technologies News Stories Of 2021 (So Far)

From CEO Michael Dell spreading his entrepreneurial wings to Apex and Dell’s spin-off of VMware, here are the top 10 Dell Technologies news stories of 2021.

The Biggest Dell Stories Of 2021

Dell Technologies is transforming itself faster than ever before with a focus on evolving its sales motion and product portfolio with Apex while selling or spinning-off key businesses such as VMware and Boomi.

The $94 billion Round Rock, Texas-based PC and infrastructure giant is coming off its record-breaking fiscal year 2021 as Dell generated $94.2 billion in revenue, driven by soaring PCs sales that hit a record of $48.4 billion.

Dell isn’t slowing down its massive growth rate this year either. In its first fiscal quarter 2022, which ended April 30, the company generated a total of nearly $24.5 billion in revenue, representing a 12 percent year over year. The growth was fueled by several strategic moves Dell is making as it transforms itself to meet the IT needs of today’s data-driven and hybrid cloud world.

From CEO Michael Dell spreading his entrepreneurial wings and the hiring of Dell’s first-ever co-COO, to a massive PowerEdge server launch and the official launch of Apex, here are the ten most important news stories from Dell Technologies in 2021 that you should know about.

For more of the biggest startups, products and news stories of 2021 so far, click here .

10. Michael Dell Spreads His Wings

Michael Dell is one of the most influential CEOs inside any IT company in the world, having a firm grasp of the company he created inside his college dorm room in 1984. Michael Dell is the face, and the name, of Dell Technologies.

In 2021, Michael Dell is spreading his entrepreneurial and social media wings further than ever. In February, Dell formed a new “blank check” acquisition company seeking to raise $575 million through an initial public offering. The new special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), dubbed MSD Acquisition Corp, is aiming to buy private businesses, add-value and expertise, then take it to the public market as a joint partner.

Additionally, Dell invested millions this year to become a strategic partner for the San Antonio Spurs after buying a 10 percent stake in the NBA team. Dell is a Texas-native and one of the state’s most popular business leaders with Dell Technologies being headquarter in Round Rock, Texas.

Michael Dell this year also became much more active on social media, particularly on Twitter. Whether he’s slamming Texas voting legislation as “opposite” of democracy, tweeting about social injustice, or high-fiving fellow IT legends like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Dell is now an active participant on social media.

9. Dell Hires New, First-Ever Co-COO

Dell Technologies will soon have two chief operating officers for the first time with the hiring of Bain & Company’s Anthony Charles “Chuck” Whitten (pictured) for the newly created position of Co-Chief Operating Officer in a move to drive “Dell’s next phase of growth.”

Whitten will join Dell on Aug. 16 following a 22-year stint at Bain & Company. Over the past decade he focused exclusively on the technology sector, including working alongside Dell’s leadership team in recent years to help shape Dell’s strategy and growth initiatives.

“Together Jeff, Chuck and I will shape the future of the company and accelerate the outcomes we can drive for customers,” said CEO Michael Dell last month. “Chuck’s leadership, energy, knowledge and humanity make him the obvious choice to join our team and strengthen our industry leadership.”

Whitten, a longtime top advisor for Dell while working at Bain & Company, will report directly to CEO Michael Dell. Dell Technologies’ current Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clarke will become Co-Chief Operating Officer while still keeping his vice chairman role.

“Chuck joins the company at a pivotal time to give us greater leadership capacity to cover more ground, assess more opportunities and speed decision making to best serve customers,” Clarke said. “As our top advisor, Chuck has been an integral part of the team for a long time working across strategy, transformation and operations. I couldn’t be happier to have him as co-COO to capture big growth opportunities across our portfolio as the world becomes more digital and data driven.”

8. Dell Selling Off Boomi For $4 Billion

Dell Technologies is selling its cloud platform software-as-a-service (SaaS) business Boomi for $4 billion to private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG Capital.

Dell said it was selling off Boomi, which it acquired in 2010, in order to focus on “high-priority areas” as the new remote workforce takes shape stemming from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“For us, we’re focused on fueling growth by continuing to modernize our core infrastructure and PC businesses and expanding in high-priority areas including hybrid and private cloud, edge, telecom and Apex,” said Dell’s Jeff Clarke when the company unveiled its Boomi planned sale. “[This is] all designed to help organizations thrive in the do-from-anywhere economy.”

Chesterbrook, Pa.-based Boomi is a provider of intelligent use of data on its cloud-based Platform as-a-Service architecture with more than 15,000 global customers that leverage the technology to discover, manage and orchestrate data. “This proposed transaction positions Boomi for its next phase of growth and is the right move for both companies, our shared customers and partners,” said Clarke.

The cash deal is expected to close by the end of 2021.

7. Dell Hardware Will Start Using More Non-Intel Processors

Dell Technologies has historically used Intel microprocessors inside its market-leading servers and PCs. However, even with his close friend, former VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, becoming the new CEO of Intel this year, Michael Dell says his company will leverage the most innovative chips inside its hardware moving forward.

“As the No.1 provider of servers in the world, you can be sure we’re taking advantage of all the latest ingredients that allow us to provide the best solution out there,” said Dell in an interview with CRNthis year. “[Intel CEO] Pat Gelsinger is a great friend and the Ice Lake generation of microprocessors from Intel offer remarkable improvements across all the performance characteristics that are super important. Having said that, there are other microprocessors out there.”

Dell’s commitment to looking across the broad spectrum of chips manufacturers from AMD and Intel to Nvidia and even chip startups comes during an explosion of innovation and massive market competition between the likes of Intel, AMD, Nvidia and companies making Arm-based processors.

Although Dell has been using some non-Intel chips inside its hardware for the past few years, 2021 marks a big shift in Dell’s strategy moving forward.

6. Dell’s Biggest Server Launch In Years

In March, Dell Technologies unveiled one of the biggest server launches in its history with more than a dozen new PowerEdge servers hitting the market. Dell’s new PowerEdge server portfolio leverages a combination of both Intel and AMD processors.

“We are embarking on a path to get to autonomous compute infrastructure,” said Ravi Pendekanti, senior vice president of server solutions product management and marketing at Dell Technologies earlier this year.

“We are building on what I would call workload-specific platforms to make sure we have an optimized platform for specific workloads,” said Pendekanti. “We’ve been hearing customers say they’re not just looking for the optimal performance, the key is they’re looking for the best price performance. As much as we can try and pivot to always providing the best performance, one of the key things we keep hearing is, ‘Give us the right price performance.’ … We’re doing that with this launch today.”

Dell Technologies is currently the worldwide server market leader in a tightly contested race with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In the first quarter of 2021, Dell owned 17 percent of the global server market by generating $3.56 billion in server revenue, followed by HPE at 15.9 percent share with $3.32 billion in server sales.

5. VMware Selects New CEO; Says Dell Spin-Off Creates ‘Switzerland Of Multi-Cloud’

Dell Technologies is currently the majority stake holder of VMware, with CEO Michael Dell chairman of VMware’s board of directors. Dell and VMware also have one of the strongest joint innovation and go-to-market partnerships in the industry. So it was huge news when VMware’s popular CEO Pat Gelsinger decided to jump ship to become CEO of Intel this year. For months, channel partners were waiting to see if VMware was going to hire a new CEO internally or externally.

In May, VMware selected its longtime technologist and cloud leader Raghu Raghuram (pictured) to lead the company. Raghuram has an enormous wealth of knowledge about VMware from both a products and innovation standpoint as well as culture, having first joined the company in 2003 overseeing VMware’s ESX and vSphere, which would become VMware’s flagship product.

Raghuram told CRN that, with Dell’s upcoming spin-off of VMware, an independent company will form aimed at becoming the worldwide leader in multi-cloud computing.

“The fact that we’re getting spun out of Dell, you can almost think of us as the Switzerland of multi-cloud,” said Raghuram, VMware’s former chief operating officer and new CEO. “We’re hardware agnostic, cloud agnostic and we can really focus on helping our customers run their applications and run their IT however they want to run it. We’re providing the tools to help them build new applications faster, run them across all of these locations, manage these applications, secure and protect them, etc. – that’s what we’re trying to do in a nutshell.”

Dell executives say its channel synergies, go-to-market strategy and innovation roadmap with VMware will remain in-tact for years to come.

4. Dell’s PC Sales And Shipments Hit New Heights

The global COVID-19 pandemic has businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes clamoring for products in Dell’s Client Solutions Group (CSG) which includes desktop PCs, Chromebooks, notebooks and thin clients, to name a few.

Dell’s CSG business is now breaking sales records with no signs of slowing down in the second half of 2021.

Dell is now within one-percentage point of HP Inc. in becoming the U.S. market leader in PC shipments, owning 27.7 percent share.

In Dell’s fourth fiscal quarter, which ended Feb. 1, 2021, the company’s CSG business generated a record-breaking $13.8 billion, up a whopping 17 percent year over year. During Dell’s most recent first fiscal quarter 2022, CSG sales skyrocketed 20 percent year over year to $13.3 billion.

Overall, Dell’s PC business is fueling the company’s total sales growth. In its first quarter 2022, Dell reported a total of $24.5 billion in revenue, up 12 percent from $21.9 billion in first quarter 2021.

3. Dell’s VMware Spin-Off Is Nearly Here: What You Need To Know

Within the next few months, Dell Technologies will spin-off its 81-percent stake in VMware to Dell Technologies shareholders. The move will create two standalone companies while hoping to still preserve the close partnerships between the two.

Here are three important things to know about Dell’s spinoff of VMware this year.

Dell said the spin-off will simplify its capital structures, help Dell achieve investment-grade credit rating and provide Dell with funding to reduce its core debt stemming from its $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2016. As part of the deal, VMware will pay a special cash dividend of between $11.5 billion to $12 billion to the company’s shareholders, which will include around $9.5 billion for Dell Technologies.

“The key message for our customers and partners is that with this commercial agreement, nothing changes for at least the next five and a half years,” Michael Dell said earlier this year. “Our current momentum in roadmaps and R&D innovation, all the work we’re doing together with sales and support -- all that moves forward full steam ahead.”

The transaction is slated to take place during the fourth quarter of 2021.

2. A New Dell Technologies Takes Shape

It’s been no secret that Dell Technologies is both shedding and doubling down on certain parts of its portfolio of companies since it acquired EMC and VMware in 2016. With the global COVID-19 pandemic driving Dell PC sales to new heights while at the same time driving companies’ digital transformation plans at lightning speed, Michael Dell is currently in the midst of transforming his company – yet again.

Less than two years ago, Dell Technologies’ family of businesses included Boomi, Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal Software, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware. With the sale of Boomi and spin-off of VMware later this year, Dell will have sold or spun off four of its eight businesses by the end of this year.

In 2020, Dell sold its cybersecurity business RSA for over $2 billion to private equity firm STG Partners. Pivotal Software was sold to VMware for $2.7 billion in late 2019. Dell also plans to sell Boomi and spin-off VMware by the end of 2021.

This means in 2022, Dell Technologies will consist of its PC business Dell, leading infrastructure company Dell EMC, SecureWorks for cybersecurity, and Virtustream for cloud software and services.

Dell is also transforming itself to make all of its entire product portfolio available as-a-service with the official launch of Apex this year.

It is key to note that Dell has been financially hindered by a massive amount of debt stemming from its historic $67 billion acquisition of EMC and VMware in 2016. Each quarter, Dell pays down billions on its core debt which stood at roughly at roughly $29 billion as of February.

With Dell selling its businesses and the VMware spin-off generating billions for the company, Dell’s debt is dropping rapidly which could allow the company to potentially go after a big acquisition to boost either its thriving PC business or as-a-service push with Apex.

1. ‘Apex Is Essentially The Creation Of The New Dell’

Dell Technologies officially planted its stake in the ground in the growing as-a-service marketplace, with bold plans to eventually sell all of its products in a consumption-based, as-a-service motion with Dell’s Apex.

Dell Apex not only puts the pressure on its main competition HPE GreenLake, but also public cloud titans like Amazon Web Services (AWS). In fact, Dell’s worldwide sales leader Bill Scannell told CRN that with Apex’s buying options, flexibility and opex cost savings, Apex can be upwards of 50 percent less expense compared to AWS.

“So now customers are saying, ‘All the things I thought I would get by going to a public cloud, I can get by keeping those workloads on-premise or in a colocation. And I can do it for, by the way, 35-40-50-percent less expensive.’ That’s the real value proposition with Apex,” said Scannell, Dell’s president of global sales and customer operations. “The more we can help deliver that cloud operating model in keeping those workloads on-premise, they’re quickly realizing it’s a much better answer.”

Apex is Dell’s portfolio of as-a-service offerings focused on rapid hybrid cloud deployment in just 14 days.

Dell said it can quickly deliver and deploy Apex solutions so channel partners can focus on driving “higher-value” services on top of Apex. Channel partners will eventually have access to the Apex Console, which is where customers manage their entire Apex lifecycle, along with a whopping 30 percent incentive on the committed contract value on Apex deals.

“Apex is essentially the creation of the new Dell as we move forward,” Dell’s Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product marketing for Dell, told CRN this year. “We’re transforming internally every facet of the business, as well as externally, as we drive this change to as-a-service consumption model for our entire portfolio.”

Apex currently consists of Apex Data Storage Services, an on-premise as-a-service portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources; Apex Cloud Services for as-a-service hybrid or private cloud infrastructure with integrated compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources to simplify cloud adoption; and Apex Custom where customers can create their own on-demand pay-per-use or usage-based IT environment leveraging Dell’s entire infrastructure product portfolio.

Apex is one of the largest go-to-market and sales strategy transformations in Dell’s 37-year history.