Michael Dell and his impact on the PC Industry

Some of the preceding information was taken from a post by Jon from Asheville, NC. his blog address is unknown. It was 10 years ago that Michael Dell, speaking before several thousand technology executives at ITxpo97 in Orlando, answered a question about what he would do if he were CEO of Apple with a remark he probably instantly regretted:

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” (link)

Today, Apple’s (AAPL) market capitalization today is more than double that of Dell.

  • Apple: $140.4 billion
  • Dell: $62.27 billion

People can slam Michael all they like, but I believe he was the reason that affordable, custom configured, reliable PCs is now available to the everyone. It had a major impact on the way we buy computers. If it wasn’t for his vision, we might be paying a lot more today and not getting the configuration we want. He forced the other computer manufacturers to lower their prices which resulted in savings for consumers. His direct build-to-order innovation was a paradigm shift that has been copied by other industries. Also to be fair, Michael only recently re-assumed the CEO post after having pulled back for a few years. Let’s see what he does back at the helm before judging his performance.

I believe when he made that comment, Apple was still wandering in the wilderness. They had just pulled back from licensing their technology to 3rd parties which had turned out to be a disaster. Many people were writing Apple off back then as being too proprietary.