What’s Really Wrong with Dell?

Dissecting Dell is rapidly becoming a media preoccupation (witness this recent Daniel Gross piece in Slate), but there is a nicely analytical entry up over at The Stalwart on one of the overlooked problems with Dell: in addition to being a large and maturing company in a maturing market, it has accounting policies predicated on directing income to employees rather than shareholders:

In 1996, Dell, still a young company in the world’s fastest growing industry sported $973 Million bucks in Shareholder equity according to their 10-k.  (Note, all of this information comes from their SEC filings).  Since then then they’ve made an accumulated $16 Billion and change in Pro-Forma net income.  So, anyone wanna take a guess as to what their shareholder equity stands at today? Come on take a guess.

$6.5 Billion.