Dell profit falls by 72%

Dell logoDell has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. The company is embroiled in a protracted battle between CEO Michael Dell and celebrity investor Carl Icahn, who doesn’t want the company to go private. As a result of Icahn’s grandstanding, practically every Dell headline over the last few months had more to do about Icahn and his supporters than the company itself.

Business is not going well, but thanks to the mess, nobody seems to be paying much attention. On Thursday the company reported a 72 percent dip in quarterly earnings and flat revenue. The results were predictable, as practically every PC maker that’s not Lenovo is struggling.

Net income was $204 million, down 72 percent year-on-year. Revenue was flat at $14.5, but it still managed to beat Wall Street’s estimate of $14.18 billion. Dell’s net income was 25 cents per share, a penny better than expectations.

Last quarter Dell shipped 8.98 million PCs, down from 9.35 million a year ago. Dell still ranks as the third biggest PC seller with a 12 percent share. Lenovo and HP have slightly over 16 percent of the market each.

There were some bright spots, too. Enterprise computing revenue was $3.3 billion, up 8 percent year-on-year. Sales of networking hardware and servers were also up.

Ironically, the downturn could benefit Michael Dell in his ongoing row with Icahn. Icahn still insists that Dell is trying to buy the company for less than it’s really worth, but if the PC market keeps underperforming, Icahn might be about to run out of arguments.