Amid the various analyses of Dell’s announcement eary Tuesday it will be attempting to buy back stock from shareholders and take the company private in a $24.4 billion deal, an older choice quote by Dell CEO Michael Dell — who is financing in part the current privatization bid — has repeatedly come back to haunt him and the company.
Back in 1997, when Dell was still reporting major growth (despite not selling PCs through retail channels at the time), Dell’s CEO was asked about what a then-struggling Apple, Inc. should do to right itself. As Dell told an audience at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida (in words immortalized by CNET):
“What would I do? I’d shut it [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders,”
Asked about Dell’s comments 16 years later in the context of Dell’s privatization effort, a Dell spokesperson gave TPM the following statement:
“That comment has been taken out of context and is not relevant.”
Dell is still ahead of Apple today when it comes to overall global PC market share — third place behind Lenovo and HP, according to Gartner’s latest figures. But that doesn’t take into account Apple’s iPad, revenues of which are on track to outpace Dell’s entire product line. Apple is worth 423.47 billion in market capitalization at the time of this post, while Dell is worth 23.24 billion.