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Dell Oz Is 20

“We’re very, very excited about the future” said Deborah Harrigan, Executive Director of Dell Australia, at last night’s event, adding the PC maker has been through a lot -“good, bad and the ugly” since it was founded in 1984.

Harrigan spoke about Dell’s trajectory from its humble beginnings almost 30 years ago from Michael Dell’s bedroom to the No.1 PC maker globally (although now sits at No. 3) – to direct selling to the consumer, and later developing relationships with the channel, government and retailers including JB Hi-Fi.

Dell’s PartnerDirect channel partner program, launched in 2009, resulting in a hybrid go-to-market strategy along with direct sales, and now contributes to a third of the company’s global revenues.

“We have grown from pure direct to direct plus commercial and retail channels,” said Joe Kremer, managing director, Dell ANZ.

“We continue to ship desktops, monitors and laptops as we did on day one, however now also meet our customers’ needs through solutions that include tablets, VDI, servers, storage, networking, printers, security, systems management, software, services, cloud solutions and more.”

In recent times it acquired a slew of IT companies including AppAssure, SonicWALL, Clerity, Make Technologies, Wyse and Quest, as it sought to diversify from a hardware-centric firm.

“We look forward to the next 20 years in Australia,” said Kremer.

Dell Australia Exec Director also spoke about Mr Dell himself retaking the helm, saying the CEO will be able to steer the company back in the right direction – presumably back to its former glory days of 2000.

But with the mobile and tablet invasion from Apple, Samsung and others  this may be an uphill climb.

Trouble Ahead?

However, the birthday celebrations came as Dell ran into some investor trouble in the US overnight, with renegade investor Carl Icahn buying 100 million Dell shares – around 6% of the company – which may stop Michael Dell’s grand plan to take majority control.

Icahn is opposed to Dell’s privatisation plans and believes Dell’s share should be valued at $22.81 – higher than the $13.65 a share Mr Dell and Silver Lake offered investors last month, branding it a “stub” value.

“We have spent a great deal of time and effort in determining the $22.81 per share value and would be pleased to meet with you to share our analysis and to understand why you disagree, if you do,” Icahn said in a letter seen by CNBC.

Icahn, who is known as an ‘activist investor’, has teamed up with one of Dell’s largest shareholders Southeastern Asset Management, who are calling for a leveraged recapitalization of the PC giant rather than a buyout. 

Dell’s shares rose slightly overnight to $14.25 according to MarketWatch.

Dell insists the deal is the best solution for investors this week and has been analysing all possibilities for 5 months.