Dell Plays IT Long Ball
One of the luxuries of being a private company is the opportunity to plan on a much longer-term basis, as opposed to having to obsess more about the results for the next financial quarter. While currently engaged in the complex acquisition of EMC, Michael Dell at a Future Ready event hosted by Bloomberg this week took note of the simple fact that as IT continues to evolve, it's only becoming more influential.
Dell observed that there are 8 billion connected devices today and we can see very clearly how we'll get to 50 billion devices. Before long, Dell said there will be trillions of connected devices that will generate another trillion dollars in revenue for an IT industry that is already valued at around $3.5 trillion.
In effect, Michael Dell is saying that, by keeping his eye on that prize, weathering the ups and downs of a financially contentious merger involving EMC is not that much of a real problem. Dell also reiterated his confidence in being able to pay down any debt incurred to finance that merger. A big part of that confidence stems from the broad product portfolio of a combined Dell and EMC.
Less clear as yet is just what products in that portfolio Dell will continue to invest in after the merger is complete. Dell is trying to make it clear that the company defines open computing as being able to provide technologies for almost any style of computing. As such, there is no conflict in Dell's mind between, for example, the converged infrastructure Dell resells from Nutanix and the converged infrastructure that EMC provides via its VCE business unit. In fact, Dell is essentially taking a page from the EMC playbook in managing a federation of business units that can exercise a fair amount of autonomy in terms of what products and technologies they bring to market.
Obviously, not every product in the combined portfolio is going to make the cut long term. But channel partners and their customers would be well-advised not only to exercise some patience, but also to recognize the motives of financiers jockeying over, for example, tax liabilities and the value of VMware as a tracking stock.
While all those issues are clearly of import to insiders, at this point, both companies are well past the point of being able to unravel a merger that would wind up costing EMC shareholders more money to undo than they might lose between now and when the value of VMware is ultimately determined. As such, the channel might as well start planning now for a new Dell reality that will be here much sooner than they might now think.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.