Agile 2018

Agile 2018
Speaking at Agile 2018

Monday, February 18, 2013

About that Dell-Microsoft Deal.

This Dude is tring to build a better Dell Computer.
When news broke out that Dell computer was going private and that Microsoft picked up the part of the tab on the deal, I did not know how to react.  Mergers happen all the time in business and so Microsoft and Dell getting together doesn't seem that unusual.  Then it dawned on me that this was Microsoft and Dell making some pretty drastic moves in the market and I decided to reconsider the news.  I think this is going to be a good deal for both parties and for entrepreneurs like myself.   This also may make it possible for Windows 8 to finally take off.

Being a Microsoft professional developer is like being a New York Yankee pitcher living in Boston.  Others will judge you as a member of the "evil empire" and will not spend any time learning about you as a person or professional.  I have had to deal with that misconception for most of my career particularly from the open source crowd and Unix professionals.  I find this perception deeply hurtful because I have spent most of my career posting code on the web and helping others to make them better software professionals. 

Dell has been spending a lot of its time attempting to please Wall Street investors and hitting sales figures with its line of laptops and desktop PC's.  In fact, a simple Optiplex box on your desk is as common today as a tape dispenser or stapler is a testament to the company's ability to build economical and functional PC systems.  The problem is that Dell has gotten a little boring.  It makes most of its money selling to corporate and business customers.  Not since its "dude you are getting a Dell," advertising campaign has it had any cache with consumers.  Finally, Dell has not gotten into the tablet market like Samsung or Apple. 

These three factors mean that Dell would continue to be a profitable but boring company until it eventually lost market share as computers become more mobile.  If I was the CEO it would have scared the pants off of me.  Thus, with some creative financing Michael Dell is taking the company private so that he can make the next blockbuster innovation away from the people determined to make sure he hits his profit loss statements each quarter. 

I am kind of excited about this.  First, I think that Dell will improve the XPS line which features a tablet which also behaves like a laptop.  I am also interested in further innovations like Skype devices which will make the tablet behave like a personal conference center.  Finally, with Microsoft along we are going to see some cool Windows 8 devices which will be able to perform a range of duties.  On my personal wish list is a 17 inch laptop which behaves like an XPS.  I could just see reading the paper on the train with that beast.

I am not going to get all gooey about this deal because things like this in the past have gone horribly wrong. With both Microsoft and Dell betting their futures on each other, it is clear to me that they are going to come up with many truly innovative products.  I can't wait. 

Until next time.