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Old 02-05-2013, 06:02 PM   #16
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We used to buy Dell laptops and desktops in the last company I worked for, they were usually very good quality and had a great support/returns policy too.
I hope Dell does well whatever they do.. Even if I would never buy a Dell PC for home purposes.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #17
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What I'd like to see is venture capitalists be rewarded with lucrative buyouts so that the innovators are released to innovate.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #18
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Frankly, to me it seems a desperate move by an individual who, in the words of the WSJ, is "increasingly concerned about his legacy".

Dell did well with PCs. Unfortunately for Dell, PC shipments, according to the same WSJ article in print today, are down 13% year-on-year. As pointed out above, this is only 'traditional PCs' - no smartphones, no tablets, etc. But that is exactly where Dell is absent. In his own admission, Michael Dell failed to see the transformation in the industry coming - or, at least, underestimated the speed and depth of the shift. It's not just shipments. The real problem is profit margins.

So the question is - once they take the firm private, where do they go? The plan seems to be to become a 'business solution provider'. Which is a higher-profit margin niche than PCs. But it's not what Dell has expertise in. Are they positioned to be the new IBM? I think the market does look upon that as unlikely - which is why the stock price took a dive. Mr. Dell seems to think it's possible - and he is betting his own money on it. Perhaps that's why he is a 'visionary'. But the market disagrees.

Is taking firms private a new trend? On the margin, the benefits of public listing have decreased. SOX has made compliance and disclosure more expensive, while the crisis has led to a lack of liquidity that negates the primary advantage of a public listing - quick access to cheap capital. So yes, more firms are going private than ever before.

Is it a good idea? The way I see it, most of those firms are going private because someone feels the market is 'not understanding true valuation' and mispricing. More often then not, that is not the case. The share price of Dell is down because it's outlook is gloom. Micheal Dell thinks he knows better than the market. I believe in (weak) market efficiency. My bet is that it's a bruised ego, an emotional response - and a big mistake.

By the way, I am typing this on a Dell ;-)
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:33 PM   #19
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We need the equivalent of an Apple or Samsung in PC hardware.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:46 PM   #20
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PCs are just fine as they are, hardware wise. The trouble is that people are simply preferring tablets.

This is why Windows 8 is what it is - Microsoft is preparing for a possible PC-less future, trying to turn Windows into a tablet OS. A future where the OS takes up half the storage space on the tablet apparently, but that's their goal.

And in turn, Valve, a big deal in PC Gaming, is trying to prepare for a future where PCs run on Linux, since Windows will be Tablet based (or focused).
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:52 PM   #21
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markbot, in what way do you not consider Sony to be the PC equivalent of Apple in laptops? The higher-end Vaio series has been as wickedly impressive as it is wickedly expensive. Or for desktops what about Falcon Northwest or Alienware or Voodoo (now HP)?

Last edited by Penforhire; 02-06-2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:55 PM   #22
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And in turn, Valve, a big deal in PC Gaming, is trying to prepare for a future where PCs run on Linux, since Windows will be Tablet based (or focused).
Windows is only tablet focused to make the transition from Windows to tablets easier. It is more like that PCs turn more into the tablet features with more and more big touch-screen all-in-one computers showing up. With the right tablet (powerful enough) you could add mobility to your desktop-games. Sony tried something similiar with the PS Vita, but failed to make the Vita fully PS3 compatible.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:52 PM   #23
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We need the equivalent of an Apple or Samsung in PC hardware.
I think Microsoft agrees with you. With the Surface, MS was letting people know what their software was designed for. I would not be surprised if MS continued to manufacture high cost, low volume reference hardware going forward.

@Penforhire, Sony produced very well balanced systems. They gave you enough hardware to run the software they felt was best to do the things people wanted to do with a personal computer.

This produced very high customer satisfaction, but the machines were not amazing. Apple's always been pretty amazing. Microsoft will amaze as well.

When I used to describe television brands, I would tell people that...

1) Pioneer was the best and priced as such
2) Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony were the second tier
3) Sony was priced between the first and second tier

I think Sony thinks that they add value at any given price point in everything they do.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:04 PM   #24
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BTW, it would not surprise me one bit if Dell ends up being Microsoft's Showcase Brand.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #25
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I suspect the commercial server and server support side of Dell's business is becoming the most important segment of their business -- if it's not there already. I'm guessing that's the biggest reason for Microsoft to be interested.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:08 PM   #26
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Most of us will have a lot of gadgets. I don't intend to give up my HP desktop, which is the easiest way for me to write, or my Kindle, which is the easiest way for me to read, or my tablet which serves other purposes, or my laptops which I use it other situations. I need all this stuff, not to mention the four TVs in my room.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:37 AM   #27
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I currently have 4 Dell PCs - a 12-year-old XP desktop which is still going strong and which I now use as a file server, and three laptops, two of which are in daily use. Far and away my favourite PC brand.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:02 AM   #28
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We need the equivalent of an Apple or Samsung in PC hardware.
We and Microsoft.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:16 PM   #29
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4 Dells here (one has a blown PSU. The reason it is not closed back up, is the PSU has a odd/small form factor and I have a normal one hanging outside the case). most are 10 years old

I always bought Optiplex: the 'business' quality line.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:22 PM   #30
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I love this and will be watching carefully. This may be a new model for innovative companies -- raise venture capital to launch a new idea, buy back the stock, and go private.

In my unschooled opinion, this is the cure for stock market speculation. With a majority of the stock held by true fans of the company, the management team can focus on company and products rather than stock price. For the same reasons, I'd love to see these companies reward stockholders with dividends -- a share of the success -- instead of price growth.

Good luck Michael Dell. I look forward to buying a Dell computer that is not built for accountants.
Buybacks aren't new, and they aren't really a cure for speculation, since they are not affordable unless the stock drops precipitously. And often the goal is to later take the company public again.

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Dell came back as CEO after the company went off the rails without him. By taking it private again he can now run the company as if it were once again a start-up. Considering the investors he lined up to raise the US$20B worth of money for the buyback he must have a convincing story to tell.
Hopefully it will work; in his day Dell was a very consumer-friendly company that made good PCs at good prices.

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Maybe it will start a trend of more Silicon-Valley companies going private. Have to see how Dell is doing now financially. Except we can't actually see any more how they do financially. They can do whatever they want now. As long as they make 1$ profit a year (after all expenses), they do good. Any more is just a plus. Beeing private they can afford to do that.
It's true that they don't have to satisfy shareholders. On the other hand, they are taking on $15B in debt; they will need to make enough to cover their loan payments.

But I think that a lot of the idea behind this is that Dell is very undervalued (which I can sort of see - $24B for a company as ubiquitous as Dell does seem surprisingly low (without doing any research)).

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I suspect the commercial server and server support side of Dell's business is becoming the most important segment of their business -- if it's not there already. I'm guessing that's the biggest reason for Microsoft to be interested.
It's my impression that the commercial side of Dell is doing okay; it's on the consumer side that they have struggled as the various tablets, phones, mp3 players, and "upscale" laptops they've offered have crashed and burned.

Dell really was a leader in the configure-on-the-Internet-and-order model of buying computers; I think their ultimate problem is that they basically turned into - on the consumer side - a purveyor of commodity laptops at the $500 level, and their attempts to take their laptops upscale or to expand into other consumer goods failed.

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4 Dells here (one has a blown PSU. The reason it is not closed back up, is the PSU has a odd/small form factor and I have a normal one hanging outside the case). most are 10 years old

I always bought Optiplex: the 'business' quality line.
Optiplex is what we use at work, too; with no issues.

But I think that's largely true of their consumer computers, too - Dell didn't run into problems because the computers weren't reliable; they ran into problems because their computers were perfectly functional low end laptops: somewhat clunky, somewhat heavy, with and indifferent (but functional) keyboard and a low end (but functional) monitor.
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