23 Jan

Dell is going Private (2013)


A month after I wrote Dell to exit global smartphone business, now I hear rumors that Dell is going private.

Many years ago I was predicting that an Asian company would buy Dell, but I wasn’t expecting Dell going private.

The Dell story kind of upset me. Dell, which is right on my “backyard”, is/was an Austin darling, used to rule the personal computing world. Today, I am not surprised of what is happening at Dell; I have been saying this for years. The Round Rock, Texas company missed the boat in a major way. You need to understand that this didn’t happen over night. It has been a slow but expected process/result — I am talking about 10 years, which is the same time-period that it took personal computing/Mobile to evolve into what it is right at this moment — just look around and you know what I am talking about: Smartphones, Tablets, personal information devices. This mess all started during the days of Kevin Rollings.

For Dell, Mobile always meant laptops. The company wasn’t able to understand that personal computing was transforming, right in front of their eyes, into the new form of Tablets and Smartphones. Actually, some inside the company did, and they created prototypes and Tablets and Smartphones *but* without a proper business-plan and without proper vision. They thought they were in control, but they weren’t. Then, they couldn’t adapt fast-enough. They couldn’t make it happen; didn’t know how-to. Technology leadership requires vision and investing in R&D — Dell didn’t do either. Then Apple and Google-and its partners all ate Dell’s lunch. It wasn’t a tech problem, but a total lack of vision — a business (management) problem. Shame on you Dell management.

Rumors say that Microsoft would invest $2 billion on the deal. Good money — but Dell would once again miss to identify root causes. Dell needs to understand that part of the reason it has failed and is failing is truly related to its dependency on Microsoft for all things Software. Dell needs to realize and learn that Software is where differentiation comes from. Software runs the world. It must take ownership and leadership both on software and hardware.

It is no surprise why both Dell and Microsoft missed the personal computing boat — the mobile opportunity. It is a problem with the way of thinking and lack of vision (that is, lack of proper leadership).

As I wrote recently, moving forward, Services and Cloud is perhaps what Dell should focus on, and forget about the rest. The problem is that Dell’s dependency on PC revenue is still at 70%; it is a tough problem to solve.

The new personal computing (aka Mobile) is perhaps too late for Dell at this point. But with the right leadership, anything can happen. If Dell insists on addressing the personal computing market, it must do a re-boot, and bring totally new minds (business and tech) into the equation — something they should be able to do now if they go Private.


17 Dec

Dell to exit global smartphone business



Today I read “Dell to exit global smartphone business” (Austin Business Journal).

From the ABJ article:

“It needs a lot of investments to really be successful,” Clarke told Forbes.

Translation: “…we don’t know how to make it happen”.

I say this because Dell has invested, a lot — but have not done it right. Dell already have the tech and ops resources to make this happen, but it keeps failing on the Go-to-Market (business-side) of the equation; in other words the problem is not the tech side but the business side.

A very sad part of this story is that many people didn’t know Dell had a smartphone business, less a global one!

What Dell should do?

  1. Find the right people, especially business people that understand Mobile,
  2. Quit the politics that again and again have prevented Dell from successfully going to market,
  3. Invest on true innovation, and,
  4. Really invest on Mobile and mobile people.

From the ABJ article:

The Round Rock-based company pulled the plug on selling its mobile devices in the United States earlier this year.


Perhaps it is the right call, for Dell to just focus on server, cloud and services.

Will Dell quit the Tablet market as well?

The future of Personal Computing is Mobile!


25 Feb

We had an awesome MobileMonday Austin Feb 2010 | Thanks to our sponsor Skyhook Wireless

MoMo Austin Logo

Wow, what a great MobileMonday Austin event we had last Monday Feb 22. With around 120 people attending, a great agenda and speakers, and a good time, it is safe to call the event a success. The opening by David, the demos by the various companies and the panel on Monetizing Mobile Apps moderated by Stacey was all great, diverse and well balanced.

A big thank you to our AWESOME sponsor Skyhook Wireless and special thanks to Kate and Ronda and Ted. And a big thank you to our speakers:

  • Ted Morgan, Skyhook Wireless
  • David Gill, The Nielsen Company
  • Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM
  • Frank Hanzlik, Dell
  • Lance Obermeyer, Digby
  • Alan S. Knitowski, Phunware, Inc.
  • Michael Agustin, Gendai Games
  • Josh Williams, Gowalla
  • Larry Upton, Edioma

And thanks to Dell for the notebook-mini giveaway and to the Austin Wireless Alliance/ATI Wireless, RCR Wireless News and the Austin American Statesmen for helping spread out the word about the event. And of course thanks to all the attendees.


Next is SXSW Interactive on March 12-16; hope to see you all there. On Saturday March 13 I will be running the Wireless Future15, don’t miss it!

And the next MobileMonday event is on March 15, 2010; the registration form is already up at http://www.mobilemondayaustin.com. Stay tuned by visiting the MoMo Austin website and this mailing list for further details.


11 Feb

MobileMonday Austin | February 22, 2010 | Great Agenda: Monetizing Mobile Apps

We are having an awesome MobileMonday Austin event on February 22; a great agenda indeed.

Thanks to our sponsor Skyhook Wireless, Dell, and our speakers, for helping make this event possible. And thanks to our Media Sponsor RCR Wireless News.

Seating is limited. For headcount, please click on Hyperlink below and register by *adding your name* to the event’s registration page (short URL is http://bit.ly/b03BYf).

Also, bring your business cards as we will be giving-away a new Dell Inspiron Mini (netbook) with GPS/Skyhook location functionality, courtesy of Dell.

The general topic for the event is Monetizing Mobile Apps, and the agenda is as follows:

(Please arrive by 5:45pm. The event runs 6pm-8:30pm, with open bar until 9:30pm)

Opening with David Gill, Director at The Nielsen Company, who will provide industry insights on the topic

Mobile/Wireless Demos (7 minutes per company)

  • Lance Obermeyer, CTO at Digby, on m-commerce
  • Frank Hanzlik, Director and GM, Wireless Connectivity Group, Dell, on wireless
  • Alan S. Knitowski, CEO at Phunware, Inc. on Enterprise branded mobile application infrastructure
  • Michael Agustin, CEO at Gendai Games, on mobile gaming
  • Ted Morgan, co-founder and CEO, Skyhook Wireless, on wireless and location
  • Josh Williams, CEO, Gowalla, on social networking and mobile
  • Larry Upton, CEO, Edioma, on mobile marketing solutions targeted at the Hispanic wireless subscriber market

Panel on Monetizing Mobile Apps

  • Moderated by Stacey Higginbotham, Resident finance guru at GigaOM
  • With our panelists Alan, Lance, Frank, Michael, Ted, Josh, Larry (see above)

Open Bar until 9:30pm

Cost is Free, thanks to our sponsor Skyhook Wireless

Drinks and Appetizers will be served

Place is tentatively scheduled at Cool River Cafe; see Map.

Please check http://www.MobileMondayAustin.com for the latest information

[Registration is now closed. Thanks.]