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back to article Friends with money: Dell's big bet on private finance

If not a gambler, Michael Dell seems certainly a born showman. With his 50th birthday on the horizon, when most people his age and with his billions might be thinking of slowing down or going philanthropic, he and his PC company have begun a brand new phase. Dell, a native of the brassy US state that lends its name to a brand of …

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How does the loan give MS "influence"?

As long as Dell keeps up with the payments, I don't see how MS get to exert influence over them. With an equity stake they would get actual powers to vote, appoint directors, etc. but I didn't think that was the case with loans.

Or, perhaps, when the loan is $2B you can't really compare it to a loan that you or I could get. Otherwise it would be like your mortgage company phoning you up and saying "We know you're keeping up fine with the payments but we'd still like you to change jobs. We think you should be a telephone sanitiser"

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Linux

Re: Microsoft invests 2 billion to keep Linux off Dell's systems

Let's just wait and see. Microsoft must, of course, have some reason to lend the money. Interest in some form.

Suppose they want Dell to produce WinPhones, for instance. Kicking out Linux might make Ballmer happy but how much of a business is pre installed Linux. As far as I have understood they can deliver hardware without Windows too. A very interesting move from Dell (the man) anyway, and could be the start of similar moves in the future for other companies too. How much time and money do listed companies actually spend on that "circus" and what are the chances that they actually gain more than they loose.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keeping Linux off Dell's systems?

Would surely be like pissing in the wind. Not to mention locking the stable door after the Findus Lasagne has bolted. I would Microsoft knows this and has a desktop play in mind.

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"dropped 40 per cent in five years, from around $40 per share in 2008 to about $15 today"

Erm, that's more than 50%.

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"meaning it already as the money engines in place"

Was this article sub-edited?

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Achilles heel

Seems top me that the consumer PC heritage is a problem. There's a smell of emotional attachement to it by Michael Dell, when in fact it went wrong years ago.

Time was when as an IT pro, you'd happily recommend a Dell to family members, knowing that they were good value, usually worked, and were well supported, even if non-standard (I even own one myself). But Dell made the idiotic decision to move consumer support offshore, resulting in a truly dreadful service (almost as bad as Microsoft's offshore "support" judging by my recent experience). There were reputational own goals like the Intel backhanders that worked for Dell but not for customers, the leaky capacitors saga, and a range of other more modest deny-and-keep-selling problems, and even a multi-million dollar accounting fraud. Dell made themselves synonymous with bloatware (still goes on - I recently spent a couple of hours cleaning out a relative's recently aquired W8 PC of all the Dell bloat).

I just can't see that the end user market will be profitable for Dell ever - there's nothing in the Dell proposition today (or likely tomorrow) to justify paying a few extra quid for. There's few costs left ot strip out - assembly has repeatedly been moved to chase wage arbitrage, support is already done at minimum cost, and the bloatware is installed to bring in extra bucks. The tax furore in the UK and elsewhere probably threatens to raise the tax bill for the likes of Dell in Europe.

It seems a shame - they had it all, they weren't being out-competed, and then they seemed to throw it all away in short term pursuit a few cents extra margin. Dell, for me, is a brand like Nokia - I have fond recollection of how good they once were, but there's no way I'd now give them my money.

Which leaves Dell floundering in competition with HP. Two big corporations that lost their way, gave up their lead in core markets, and ran off to try and sell enterprice hardware and services in an over-crowded marketplace. RIP

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FAIL

Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

I think there is a lot of opportunity here for both Dell and HP. Dell is infamous with channel re sellers for under cutting them on quotes the re-seller might actually make some slim margins on. The whole PC industry basically made its own bed. The amount of work a re-seller has to do to make a few pennies on SMB is ridiculous. The one advantage Dell has over HP is their website is MUCH easier to use that HP's. HP has no clue how to let consumers and re-sellers configure their equipment. They use the smart buy system, and then there are a few systems you can configure. It is really frustrating. I find even their sales experts are confused by what configurations can actually be put into systems, especially with servers. I just had a Gen 8 system delivered to me (some assembly required), and it turns out that the 2GB cache I was sold would not work with the RAID controller I had. I pinout was not even right. Fortunately I need another server for the same client immediately after I can use it in, but it is really maddening trying to configure servers and workstations. A few months back I was sold a RAM upgrade for a server that turns out was not only the right RAM, but exceeded what the server could address (low end server). A workstation was delivered with a video card that would not work with the system. HP is really clueless. In fact, I don't believe I have even gotten my credit back months later. But even after that, I still will not use Dell for the express reason they eat their own. They can't be trusted. As for Microsoft, what the hell were they thinking trying to shoe horn a tablet OS onto a PC before they were all touch screen. While there are work arounds to the Windows 8 menu system, there should have been a classic Windows 7 option built in. We are dealing with companies that are still running Windows XP Pro because of everything from legacy systems to low capital for upgrade investments for the last 8-10 years. They were already scared of going to Windows 7 (which is really a beautiful OS). Now we are going to completely change the interface? These are the same users that can not open Outlook because the icon moved 4 inches on the screen and they can not find it now. Management looks at Windows 8 as a productivity and training nightmare. It would be a REALLY stupid move on M$s' part if they did not add a classic Windows 7 mode in a SP release immediately. Every single day I have SMB companies looking to Linux because of simple things like this. Not that I am complaining about the work. but on this side of the coin, the I also have flavor X Linux driver support by both HP and Dell falls WAY short. I am relatively new to the Linux world, and every day I love it a little more. However, the polish jut is not there to displace Microsoft. There are a lot of great applications out there, but even in my conversations with Canonical, I keep pointing out that the platform is great - but they need to help with things like style guides for applications that will be distributed on their platform. Well - let me change that slightly. The individual platforms Ubuntu, Red Hat, etc.should be looking at distributions they are bringing into their repositories and saying hey, we really like your application. I like that Ubuntu seems to be sorting through the applications, but they are just not taking the right interest. Great it runs well, but here, let us help you with this release on our platform by investing either time or money into the package and bringing it up to the appearance and training of a modern application. My question is where are the killer apps to replace the Microsoft equivalents? Why has no one gone to Quickbooks and helped them develop a multi-user server that works on your share form Linux? We could argue that OpenOffice - while a great application, can not replace a full Office Suite completely. I do like the flexibility, and I get they are not trying to lock you in, but I should not have to search through 20 different applications to find a good enough replacement for the one piece of the suite that is missing. Then find out there is no training or very little documentation for the application when the client is asking for training on the platform. Eventually I will develop all my own training, but it is going to take years. Companies like Red Hat and Canonical need to direct some resources into just helping these other companies polish out their products. This should apply to Dell and HP as well. Hey - we would like to show support for your platform. Here are some driver packages that work on our new systems, and we will certify a few more because the hardware manufacturer happened to have Linux drivers available. Love that they are doing. love that they are trying to sell Linux desktops. But the offerings leave something to be desired. You read foot notes like - oh - the blue tooth module does not work on this laptop. On a brand new Linux workstation or laptop from the factory - really? Try again. I can get that by slapping distribution X on what ever I have now - thank you. I want to see them optimizing drivers with their vendors to increase performance. Just load this complete package for your server and all devices will be recognized. Oh - you don't want to pay $4,000 just in Microsoft licensing for a terminal server? Guess what, we invested some time and resources into the LTSP project to make sure that not only things work optimally, but we have these other products like tablets that work flawlessly in your office environment with our systems. Look at these great applications like SugarCRM that run wonderfully on this new table, and while your sales force is in the field, they can be securely integrated with your systems. Look we have a cloud app you do not have to run down yourself and completely figure out form the ground up that will allow the tablet to work with a cloud server that seamlessly synchronizes your MySQL database to the internal server so that orders, requests for literature, and so on can be processed immediately while you are at trade show X. Every single project is a monumental task from start to finish. These companies have limited budgets they are willing to spend on the right solutions. My phone is literally ringing off the hook with business - zero advertising. Give me the tools so each small project does not take 1-6 months to complete. Yes we can do that, but I have to research these 3 technologies and test with them first. This is one of the few things Microsoft does right. New technology - they integrate it - create trainng - create marketing - make it EASY to deliver. Problem is they have priced themselves out of the market. I mean really - the new MS SQL price structure? Get serious. Kiss all those servers good bye. MySQL is much more appealing, and the SMB space will wait for it since the price is right. So over all - since this has just dwindled down into a rant - you want to recover your business - there is LOTS of money out there. These companies have not upgraded in years. The prices and solutions are not right. The applications while getting better, look like they are from 80's and 90's MACs which makes it not have the iPod - iPhone shininess (ironic that they created this frenzy), and the replacements for the applications they currently have. Microsoft was too expensive and has now gotten worse. They were reluctant to go with the Microsoft tax before. I can tell you first hand - they are done with Microsoft. You have no idea how many times in the last 12 months I have heard, well if that is the price, we can not afford it, BUT if you have an alternative, we are open to working with you and developing those new systems. The next statement is then, in the future we would like to integrate presentation and tablet type devices in with our services. Just yesterday this happened again. What is the bottom line, what is my monthly investment, I want technology XYZ, but I am not going to pay too much. If this is not a request for a change in direction to the industry - I have no idea what is. But i can tell you I am developing those systems and training, and when i am done - you can't have it.

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Re: Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

You might want to invest in a carriage return key and read up on what paragraphs are. You might well have written an interesting and informative item, but after the first four inches of unrelieved text, I lost the will to live.

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Re: Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

I was impressed by the sheer scale of it all when I clicked "maximize comment", I'm sure there's a brilliant post in there somewhere though.

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Re: Re: Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

It was, but you didn't declare it until after you used it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

It appears you didn't have time to write a short post (to my surprise, this is not paraphrasing Mark Twain).

I think this is possibly the first time I have seen a comment that is longer than the original article..

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Mushroom

Re: Turmoil - Probably just a rant.

With all due respect - what a load of bollocks. Who gives a flying f*ck about how easy their website is to use?Simple fact is if Dell want to follow Microsoft into oblivion, so be it, they won't be missed. Personally speaking I'd rather build my own servers and desktops, than put up with the overpriced shite companies like HP and Dell churn out. Also I'd rather choose my own platforms too. Possibly a combination of WHAT WORKS FOR ME and not what vendors, fanbois and shills are desperately trying to persuade me to use. So a nice tidy little VMware solution with a range of servers, for a range of tasks, that I can take on and off line whenever I like.

As for open source, developers have been doing a lot of things right lately - ever heard of a story called the hare and the tortoise? PS. get a return key.

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Coat

M.B. I read it as EXPAND

I was impressed by the sheer scale of it all when I clicked "maximize comment",

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