Dell traces its origins to 1984, when Michael Dell created Dell Computer Corporation, which at the time did business as PC’s Limited, while a student of the University of Texas at Austin. The dorm-room headquartered company sold IBM PC-compatible computers built from stock components. Dell dropped out of school to focus full-time on his fledgling business, after getting $1,000 in expansion-capital from his family. In 1985, the company produced the first computer of its own design, the Turbo PC, which sold for $795. PC’s Limited advertised its systems in national computer magazines for sale directly to consumers and custom assembled each ordered unit according to a selection of options. The company grossedmore than $73 million in its first year of operation.
In 1986, Michael Dell brought in Lee Walker, a 51-year-old venture capitalist, as president and chief operating officer, to serve as Dell’s mentor and implement Dell’s ideas for growing the company. Walker was also instrumental in recruiting members to the board of directors when the company went public in 1988. Walker retired in 1990 due to health, and Michael Dell hired Morton Meyerson, former CEO and president of Electronic Data Systems to transform the company from a fast-growing medium-sized firm into a billion-dollar enterprise.
The company dropped the PC’s Limited name in 1987 to become Dell Computer Corporation and began expanding globally. In June 1988, Dell’s market capitalization grew by $30 million to $80 million from its June 22 initial public offering of 3.5 million shares at $8.50 a share. In 1992, Fortunemagazine included Dell Computer Corporation in its list of the world’s 500 largest companies, making Michael Dell the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company ever.
In 1993, to complement its own direct sales channel, Dell planned to sell PCs at big-box retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, which would have brought in an additional $125 million in annual revenue. Bain consultant Kevin Rollins persuaded Michael Dell to pull out of these deals, believing they would be money losers in the long run. Margins at retail were thin at best and Dell left the reseller channel in 1994. Rollins would soon join Dell full-time and eventually become the company President and CEO.
In 2005, while earnings and sales continued to rise, sales growth slowed considerably, and the company stock lost 25% of its value that year. By June 2006, the stock traded around $25 USD which was 40% down from July 2005—the high-water mark of the company in the post-dotcom era.
Story behind the Dell logo
The famous global strategic branding agency Siegel+Gale created the first Dell logo in 1984. The slanted “E” symbolized Michael Dell’s wish to “turn the world on its ear”. It slowly gained popularity and eventually became one of the most memorable and iconic logos in the technology industry. Towards the end of 2010, the logo underwent a few changes.
The task was given to another branding firm named Lippincott, as they came up with an exclusive, tailor-made typeface for the company, “Museo”, with the help of Dutch type designer Jos Buivenga, and moved the letters slightly to the left on both of the “Ls”. The ‘E’ was also tilted a bit more downward. The blue ring surrounded and protected the iconic Dell logotype, giving it a graphical appearance of a globe.
|Company Acquired||Date of Acquisition||Company Notes|
|Alienware||2006||Manufacturer of high-end PCs popular with gamers|
|EqualLogic||January 28, 2008||Acquired to gain a foothold in the iSCSI storage market. Because Dell already had an efficient manufacturing process, integrating EqualLogic’s products into the company drove manufacturing prices down|
|Perot Systems||2009||Perot Systems was a technology services and outsourcing company, mainly active in the health-sector, founded by former presidential hopeful H. Ross Perot. The acquired business provided Dell with applications development, systems integration, and strategic consulting services through its operations in the U.S. and 10 other countries. In addition, the acquisition of Perot brought a variety of business process outsourcing services, including claims processing and call center operations.|
|KACE Networks||February 10, 2010||KACE Networks was a leader in Systems Management Appliances.|
|Boomi||November 2, 2010||Cloud Integration Leader|
|Compellent||February 2011||The acquisition extended Dell’s storage solution portfolio.|
|Force10networks||August 2011||By acquiring this company Dell now has the full Intellectual property for their networking portfolio, which was lacking on the Dell PowerConnect range as these products are powered by Broadcom or Marvell IM.|
|AppAssure Software||February 24, 2012||Dell acquired the backup and disaster recovery software solution provider out of Reston, VA. AppAssure delivered 194 percent revenue growth in 2011 and over 3500% growth in the prior three years. AppAssure supported physical servers and VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer. The deal represents the first acquisition since Dell formed its software division under former CA CEO John Swainson. Dell added that it will keep AppAssure’s 230 employees and invest in the company.|
|SonicWall||May 9, 2012||A company with 130 patents, SonicWall develops security products, and is a network and data security provider.|
|Wyse||April 2, 2012||A global market-leader for thin client systems.|
|Clerity Solutions||April 3, 2012||Clerity, a company offering services for application (re)hosting, was formed in 1994 and has it headquarters in Chicago. At the time of the take-over approximately 70 people were working for the company.|
|Quest Software||September 28, 2012|
|Gale Technologies||November 16, 2012||A provider of Infrastructure Automation Products. Gale Technologies was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.|
|Credant Technologies||December 18, 2012||A provider of storage protection solutions. Credant is the 19th acquisition in four years, as Dell had spent $13 billion on acquisitions since 2008 and $5 billion in the past year alone.|
|StatSoft||March 24, 2014||A global provider of analytics software, in order to bolster its Big Data solutions offering.|