Ding, Dong, is Dell Back from the Dead?

Google who? The Google earnings story has been pushed to the back page tonight as Michael Dell is back as CEO at computer company he founded, replacing Kevin Rollins.

The Big Question: While Rollins resigned, did he jump or was he pushed? My money’s on “gentle push”, with Dell returning to operations, like Ted Waitt to Gateway years ago, to his struggling company as the conquering founder-hero.

Will it work? With Dell down almost 15% over the last five years, and 17% over the last year (and 3% year-to-date), the thinking has to be that Dell’s model, while wonderfully Rollins-optimized, is optimized for a market, personal computers, that is no longer much fun, let alone a growth story.

So, will Dell follow PC companies Gateway (then) and Apple (now) into consumer electronics? That would be the smartest guess. I give Dell a better chance than Gateway of making the switch, but that’s not saying much. Bottom line: I like the change, but the PC business has bigger problems than can be solved by bringing back its favorite dorm-room prodigy.

[Update] Interesting that Rollins’ bio is still available from the Dell website, even if he is no longer listed on the management team.


  1. Paul,
    Can you throw some light on the “bigger” problems you mention ?

  2. “So, will Dell follow PC companies Gateway (then) and Apple (now) into consumer electronics?”
    But, they already tried this 3 years ago.
    Dell opens its doors to home electronics, Published: September 25, 2003
    Dell introduced a digital music player, an online music service, a multifunction LCD television and computer screen, and a projector, as well as a new handheld.
    “We’re here to confirm our entry into the consumer electronics category,” Dell said as he kicked off the conference call. “We’re expanding our lineup, even as our PC business is profitable in every segment.”