Tag: Dell

Dell price cuts fail to boost revenues

Michael DellA report claimed that Dell will announce results tomorrow that don’t match the expectations of financial analysts.

The Wall Street Journal claims to have talked to a person close to the matter who indicates profits continue to fall, as Dell slashed prices in order to boost sales.

The results were supposed to be out on May the 21st but have been brought forward, the source said.

And it indicates revenue will amount to around $14 billion, and comes against the background of potential buyouts from Michael Dell himself, in competition with Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management.

It’s not just Dell that’s been slashing prices, but some suspect there’s politics related to the potential buyout that’s pushing the company to announce its results tomorrow, rather than wait a few weeks.

European PC market continues downward spiral

pc-sales-slumpThe global PC market contracted 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and Europe seems to have taken the worst hit. Sales of PCs in Western Europe fell off a cliff in the first three months of the year and they are down 20.5 percent year-on-year. Big brands like Acer and HP did even worse, experiencing a drop in excess of 30 percent. 

Dell offers enterprise sweetener

dellsigDell has announced a partner discount for its enterprise range to coincide with the launch of Online Solutions Configurator, a web sales tool, announced today.

The idea behind Online Solutions Configurator is to help partners sell Dell kit online, customised or pre-configured. It’s integrated with deal registration as well, so partners can keep track of and close deals through the tool.

Online Solutions Configurator will enable quick access to pre-configured Dell products. The company hopes it will allow partners to price deals more easily to help simplify their tender process.

Laurent Binetti, GM EMEA channel, Dell, said in a statement that the tool was developed with partner feedback in mind, offering a collaborative sales tool that should make selling Dell’s Enterprise portfolio easier. The discount fund is an additional incentive.

The Configurator launches in the UK and Germany today. It should reach the Netherlands and France later this month.

Discounts will be available to registered, preferred and premier partners in the PartnerDirect scheeme in Europe. However, each discount is based on how much the partner has spent on Dell kit over the last five years. Partners have until 30 June to get their discount in, and applies to Dell PowerEdge, Dell Compellent, Dell EqualLogic, Dell PowerVault, Dell PowerConnect and Dell Force10.

Dell attacks Cisco in mid-market

mikedellcloseupDell is talking big about taking on network behemoth Cisco, announcing its SonicWall NSA firewalls that it believes will disrupt the market.

Dell is promising protection for mid-sized organisations with its latest firewalls, promising customers that the SonicWall NSA software will assure “optimal network performance and total cost of ownership”, going on to say that its technology will even “render competitors’ traditional firewalls obsolete”.

Using a patented single pass, low latency Reassembly Free Deep Packet Inspection, or RFDPI engine, this kit, Dell claims, has enough power to take note of all network traffic, no matter the port or protocol, and can block threats before they worm their way into the network.

Dell boasts that the RFDPI engine has the twin benefit of combining a firewall with an intrusion protection system, and the software sports features like 10GbE SPF+ interfaces and high performance SSL decryption. Medium sized organisations will be able to use the kit to take advantage of security usually only afforded for enterprise grade network security, Dell claims.

Dell exec director in product management, Patrick Sweeney, said the company believes these “products are game-changers as we take on Cisco in the critical mid-market”.

As web threats get more sophisticated, penny pinching mid sized organisations swamped by economic stagnation need excellent security to make sure they are not even more vulnerable than they already are. Problems with funding staff training or specialisation are common, too, so Dell thinks its latest product can help.

Dell appoints hardware.com premier partner status

Simon FieldhouseHardware.com said it has been accredited as a premium partner by Dell because of its sales and technical certifications.

Simon Fieldhouse, global sales director at hawrdware.com said the accreditation is because of the knowledge and technical expertise of its engineers.

Edward Owen, regional channel sales manager at Dell said that hardware.com had made high revenues within their certification areas. He said the Premium Partner status is a level assigned to top solution providers.

Dell changed its PartnerDirect channel programme two years ago into two levels, Preferred Partners and Premier Partners.  The idea was to rward solution providers that can show knowledge of Dell’s portfolio products. Only small percentage of the certified group reaches the top tier, Fieldhouse said.

High sales volumes qualify for extra benefits.

Dell could go down like Richard III

Battle_of_BosworthTin-box shifter Michael Dell has found himself in the middle of a three-way proxy war for control of his company and might go out like Richard III screaming for a horse and ending up under a carpark.

Dell hit the headlines by allying with Silver Lake in a bid to take his company private. Really, that should have been the end of matters. Dell owns a big chunk of company stock, he founded the company in the first place and it desperately needs a restructuring.

Shareholders should logically be pleased to see a return on their cash at all, as the value of the outfit is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better, if it gets better. For some reason they are not.

Instead we are seeing the various big shareholders ganging up to try and take control before Dell can get the company private.

The question is what they hope to gain. In the middle of a recession, where Dell’s traditional buyers are saving their pennies, the company is paralysed. The only part of the IT industry that is moving at all is the mobile sector and Dell is not a big player there. Dell is doing alright in enterprise.

Logically a company in Dell’s position should restructure, cut back to basics and survive on its cash reserves until things pick up.

This is the opposite of what shareholders want. They want the company to show continual growth so that the share price will increase. By going private, Dell is protected from the wrath of shareholders and can look to the longer term.

While all sides are talking about having the best interests of the company and shareholders at heart, it is fairly clear that the only one who really cares about Dell as an ongoing concern is Michael Dell himself.

Blackstone, Carl Icahn, and Silver Lake Partners all have ideas to take the company private. But their idea can only be to take over and flog off all the company assets and distribute the last of the cash.

This can be the only reason why they are swarming around Dell like flies.

Otherwise any observer who lifts the bonnet of Dell has to take a sharp intake of breath and admit that in the short term Dell is buggered. Its core business market is rotting and its quarterly sales in its consumer sector are sliding.

A management plan presented to the board last July expected $5.6 billion in operating income this year. That was later reduced to $3.7 billion, but is likely to be revised lower still.

Global shipments for PC makers declined 3.2 percent last year and are predicted to fall more than 10 percent in the current quarter. Dell has not really seen any benefits from the launch of Windows 8 or the Ultrabook.

This puts Dell’s board in a difficult position. So far they have supported Michael Dell but now they have to work out if offers from Blackstone and Icahn will lead to a better bid than the one from Michael Dell and Silver Lake.

They will have to look at the deal in terms of cash. They can’t take the perspective that it’s better for the company to go with Michael, they always have to say “the average shareholder will do better”.

The three rival offers are critically different. Dell and Silver Lake will buy out shareholders for $13.65 a share, valuing Dell at $24.4 billion. If the preliminary offers from Blackstone and Icahn do not firm up, this is the best shareholders can expect. Currently you can pick up a second hand Dell share for $14.50 so a lot of people will be out of pocket.

To make matters worse, few people will invest in Dell shares while there is a big argument about the outfit’s future. Corporate buyers thinking about getting in a few Dell boxes want to know if the company is going to be around in a few years.

Blackstone’s offer of more than $14.25 a share to all investors who want to cash out would mean that Dell is worth $25 billion.

Icahn, on the other hand, is offering to buy 58 percent of shares for $15 apiece.

At the moment, analysts say that Blackstone has the highest chance of success. That could cause Dell some major headaches. For a start it is likely that Michael Dell himself will be removed from the company.

There are rumours that Icahn submitted his proposal only to keep discussions going, because he thought Blackstone may not submit an offer. It is likely that he will walk away from the deal but wants to make the most of his billion dollar investment in the company. He will want a large special dividend before he ties up with a rival bid, probably Blackstone.

Michael Dell’s own involvement with Blackstone would seal it, but it does not seem to be playing out that way. Earlier this week the Blackstone deepthroats were telling the press that he would be fired if they had anything do do with it. Officially, though, Dell has said that he will “explore in good faith” the possibility of working with Blackstone or Icahn.

He claimed he would be like Switzerland in favouring a form of armed neutrality.

But Blackstone wants to asset strip Dell’s financial services unit, worth an estimated $5 billion, and has apparently asked ex HP chief Mark Hurd about running the company. Dell, who is always a little hands on, has good reasons why he would not want this to be the case.

Either way all this is going to get a lot messier and is going to take months to sort out. What the three factions have to realise is that Dell, the company,  could be killed off by their final Battle of Bosworth.

Acer to slowly revamp product line, focus on tablets

acer-logo-ceAcer is apparently planning to revamp its product line in an effort to revive sales and growth momentum.

Last week Acer announced that it will increase R&D spending to between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of annual sales this year. Acer apparently wants to invest more in order to stay competitive in the tablet market, while at the same time improving its notebook line. Acer hopes to sell between 5 and 10 million tablets this year.

Analysts, however, see trouble ahead. Deutsche Bank analyst Ivy Lee said Acer might encounter new challenges that might cause its sales to remain flat, reports Taipei Times. Windows 8 is apparently the biggest risk, since there is still not enough consumer feedback on Windows 8 tablets and notebooks.

Acer recently killed off a couple of its value brands, after it experienced a huge inventory loss in late 2011. Like other leading PC makers, Acer is experiencing a lot of margin erosion and falling market share.

Citigroup Global Markets analyst Kevin Chang believes Acer will continue to struggle in the near future. In a recent note he argued that Acer’s current strategy is simply not working and that it has to be more aggressive on pricing.

As the PC slump drags on, Lenovo, Asustek, Dell and HP will try to hold their ground and fierce price competition is to be expected. As for tablets, Asus and Lenovo have done a bit better than other major PC players. Lenovo did particularly well in China in the last two quarters, while Asus has managed to make quite a name for itself in the Android tablet space with the Transformer series. It also builds Google’s Nexus 7 tablet.

Apple tops US PC satisfaction list

dellsigA survey of 10,000 US consumers has pointed to Apple and HP taking the top end of the satisfaction ratings for the computing segment in a Temkin Experience study. At the bottom of the rankings were Sony and Lenovo.

The survey looked at three areas of customer satisfaction, that is, functionality, accessibility, and the emotional reaction to the use of their product across different industries, including with computing.

Acer, Apple, Compaq, Dell, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba were included. According to the survey, personal computers have been making steady gains in customer satisfaction – the average experience rating has increased to 60 percent for this year, up six percent from 54 percent in 2011.

Apple’s enormous popularity in the States put it on top for computing, reaching 134th place of any brand across every industry at 64 percent customer satisfaction. That is slightly below its 2012 rating at one percent less, however, it pipped other computer makers to the spot with top feedback for the accessibility and emotional categories. HP was second, beating Apple in functionality, and scoring 62 percent overall.

Of the PC brands, Dell scored the biggest improvement from 2012 with an increase in six percentage points. Sony and Lenovo however were the lowest ranked PC brands, both scoring 54 percent – not dismal, but showing significant declines for the segment. Sony scored poorly on functionality and accessibility, while Lenovo users were just not that attached to their machines with a low rating for the emotional category. Overall, ratings for PCs were 13th out of the 19 included industries.

The full ratings can be found at Temkin’s website, here.


Monitor market in decline

50scrtThe stagnating and eventually declining demand for the traditional PC desktop has had an inevitable knock-on effect in the monitor industry, with the latest report from analyst house IDC lowering its Q4 2012 estimate from 37.9 million to 36.3 million units.

IDC also lowered total shipment forecasts for 2013 from 142.8 million to 140.1 million units, or a six percent yearly decline. The grim forecast will not be getting any better, with expectations that by 2017 shipments will drop to 122.2 million units.

As with the desktop itself, the booming mobile computing trend is essentially killing off demand for the monitor. IDC pointed to “consumer confusion” about Windows 8 paired with the wider economic situation as pretty solid reasons why people aren’t buying, which means decreased demand going into 2013.

Average selling prices, too, are likely to decline by as much as 1.5 percent per year going through to 2017. Those that are interested in buying will be glad to hear that overcrowded competition will mean companies lowering prices as they try to win custom. Price per inch could decline from $8.35 in 2012 to $7.46 in 2017, which should continue because of what IDC calls the natural migration of users to larger screen sizes. In 2012, the mean screen size was 20.4″, but this should grow to 21.4″ by 2017.

Vendors can boost their margins by looking towards innovation and building consumer value with lower cost monitors. IDC cites Samsung’s PLS technology as an attractive way to seduce custom.

IDC’s senior research analyst, Linn Huang, said that failure to drive innovation in the market will “likely result in the long-term tradeoff of profit margin for volume retention”.

Of the vendors still in the game, Samsung is ahead with 15 percent of the market share. Dell followed with 12.7 percent, and HP, Lenovo, and LG had 10.8 percent, 9.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

Dell Sonicwall’s SuperMassive firewall works on LittleTiny power

dellsigDell SonicWall, the acquisition that rolled the company into Dell Software Group, has announced an enterprise class firewall that promises, the firm says, to deliver robust security, performance and scalability, the SuperMassive 9000 series.

The firewall is capable of providing threat protection at multi gigabit speds with close to zero latency, Dell Sonicwall said. Included in the series are the 9600, 9400 and 9200 models which all offer IPS and application control performance in speeds up to 12Gbps. Dell claims the products are power efficient with total cost of ownership and power, space and cooling requirements optimised with specifically for enterprise data centres.

Dell rolled out a client at the University of South Florida’s Pediatrics Epidemiology Center, which said that the organisation saved heaps of cash with the investment and performance increased “10-fold” after deploying.

Dell SonicWall’s exec, Patrick Sweeney, urged companies to consider the damages volume, form and sophistication of malware can have on corporate networks. “At the same time, enterprises struggle to balance the need for network access and performance with network protection,” Sweeney said.

Dell boasted that the SuperMassive 9000 series can get to threats before they enter networks, by casting its eye on all traffic worming its way in. This is largely thanks to Dell’s Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection, or RFDPI, tech, which looks at every packet across all ports.


Taiwanese server makers take on traditional OEMs

server-racksThe server market has been dominated by the same players for years, but times are changing and Taiwanese outfits are aggressively entering the lucrative market.

Talking to EEtimes, Quanta cloud computing group general manager Mike Yang pointed out that Taiwanese companies are ramping up production of servers, switches and storage systems. The trend threatens to undermine the position of traditional OEMs.

“Traditional OEMs no longer have the advantage, we do,” said Yang. “The business model is changing and it provides us a very good opportunity.”

It could be said that Quanta entered the server market by accident. Five years ago it landed a sizeable contract from Facebook, which prompted the company to rethink its approach to the server market. Yang said the deal had a big impact on Quanta and it was quite surprising, as the company usually only provided precuts to OEMs.

But Facebook is not alone and Big Data is showing a lot of interest in Taiwan. Google and Microsoft also realised they could easily tap Taiwanese companies to build custom designed server suited for their needs. Two years after the Facebook deal, Korea Telecom also approached Quanta to build server racks.

“We asked them why they came to us, and they said they heard we were doing business with several of the biggest data centers in the world,” Yang said.

It did not take Quanta long to realise that it could cut out the middleman and sell its gear directly. Last year Quanta officially created its data centre group and it is pursuing the market more proactively. However, the company is playing both sides and it is still building servers for OEMs like  Dell and HP.

Quanta is not alone and one of its chief rivals is Wistron, a former arm of Acer that makes PCs for OEMs. Wistron is now getting orders for racks and last year it launched a spinoff called WiWynn to handle the data centre business and prevent possible conflicts of interest with OEM clients.

Dell pushes out four new monitors

dell-u3014-1360625063Tinman Michael Dell has released four new monitors to make up what is being marketed as a flagship range.

Floating the bunting are the U3014, U2713H and U2413. Dell waxes lyrically with a heavy coating, banging on about how it offers one of the industry’s highest-quality and most advanced technology experiences, with uncompromising screen performance, precise, and consistent colours.

One thing is certain, at 30 inches the U3014 with PremierColor is Dell’s largest screen size to date. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio, suitable for the fine level of detail required for colour-critical work such as CAD/CAM, graphic design, desktop publishing, gaming or media creation.

Users should be able to see more onscreen with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. It meets the latest environmental standards that you can poke a stick at, such as EPEAT, ENERGY STAR and TCO Certification. It will hit the shops worldwide for $1,499.

Also released were the Dell UltraSharp U2713H 27-inch and U2413 24-inch Monitors with PremierColor. Again these are being pitched for graphics work. Dell tells us that users will experience remarkably consistent, precise, and accurate colours calibrated at the factory to support 99 per cent AdobeRGB and total sRGB coverage with a deltaE of less than 2. Dell will provide a user with a certified report to indicate its exact colour calibration.

Each one has a 12-bit internal processor enables a whopping 1.07 billion colours, superb colour reproduction and gradation onscreen. The U2713H pricing starts at US$999 and the U2413 is $599
Dell has also released the UltraSharp U2913WM 29-inch Ultra-wide Monitor which is an ultra-wide monitor.

This is designed for multi-taskers and has an aspect ratio of 21:9 and means that users do not need dual monitors. Users can extend content to additional monitors using DisplayPort 1.2.1 It is not bad for watching wide Full HD either. Dell have not given us a price for this one.

Dell hints at more buys in open letter

mikedellcloseupFollowing Dell’s acquisition of, er, Dell – taking the behemoth off the public market – CEO Michael Dell has penned an open letter to the company’s customers which promises “organic” and “inorganic” investment. Translation: Dell’s patent-packed Supermarket Sweep shopping spree will be ongoing.

At Dell Tech Camp, Amsterdam, last week, the company was very keen to assert the importance of acquisitions in its portfolio. Wyse, Kace, and the others were wheeled into Dell’s Software Group and it is clear from the time given to each that the company’s intended message was that it’s growing. It wants to continue to compete with HP and IBM in enterprise, and there are plenty of pre-packaged firms out there it believes it can pick up.

The letter opened by saying Dell’s agreement represents an “exciting new chapter for our company and for you, our customers”. Ultimately, more control in the paws of Michael Dell will define Dell at this transitional point in the company’s history.

“As always, our unwavering focus is on delivering a fantastic customer experience and creating value for your organisation,” the letter reads. “We believe that our proposed new ownership will provide long-term support to help Dell innovate, invest for growth and accelerate our transformation strategy. We’ll have the flexibility to continue organic and inorganic investment and drive industry leading innovation”.

Mentioning the past few years, Dell claimed that strategic execution has been “consistent”, and again mentioned that portfolio it has managed to swell. Considering the enterprise represents the overwhelming lion’s share of Dell’s products, services and technologies – will we see Mike pick Apotheker two from HP’s notebook under the latter’s short lived leadership? Some pundits guffawed when IBM dumped its consumer division, but it turned out to be for the better.

HP, meanwhile, struggles with ‘restructuring’ and was forced to write down the insanity of its Autonomy buy. We’ll say it right now: it will be Michael Dell’s hated box-shifting label for whom the Dell tolls.