The headline is linkbait: they said they're not just a PC company, they're primarily an enterprise-oriented company. Of course, this is a given; that's where most of the profit is.
Dell still makes money off their personal computers, but the margins are simply way higher when selling to corporate. Personal computers have a huge amount of competition and support is expensive.
And though iPads are probably hurting Dell somewhat, I suspect the effect is a little different from 'people switching to tablets'. Rather, most people don't have money to afford both a new iPad and a new PC. While in the past, upgrading ones PC every few years has often been a given, many people will pick the iPad over the the new computer if upgrading doesn't really seem to offer much value in comparison.
They'll keep using their PC -- it's just that they're not buying a new one from Dell.
The low-end PC market is very saturated and very low-margin; even if Dell still has a lot of sales, they're going to talk about the thing that makes them the most profit.
My previous laptop was a Dell XPS M1330. It ran linux well, although the fingerprint reader never worked properly for authentication outside of Windows. Unfortunately, it was one of the many laptops from many manufacturers that included a defective NVidia graphics chipset. Dell issued a firmware "upgrade" that simply cranked up fan speed (making the laptop run noisier and consume battery power quicker). They also extended the warranty slightly. My particular laptop lasted until a week after the extension and promptly fried itself. Arguably, if I had not dutifully installed that firmware "upgrade" it would have burned out under warranty.
So, I knew what had happened to my laptop. The symptoms of a M1330 with a burnt out graphics chipset were common knowledge online. I didn't feel like buying a new laptop right then and there, so I decided to contact Dell and try to pay for a replacement part. I was routed to a call-center in India where the employees had a set script and absolutely nothing would deter them from following it. Even though I knew what was wrong and just wanted the part to fix it, they told me I had to pay them $50 so they could diagnose the problem themselves. i.e. $50 so they could move to a different section in their script and, if it was well made, tell me what I already knew! I tried to escalate the issue, but no luck. Dell had clearly dumped their customers on this third party call-center and cut all backwards lines of communication.
I know other companies may be little better and this mess was really Nvidia's fault, but I refuse to send more business to a company that I know will do everything in their power to avoid taking care of me. They provided a hot-fix that they knew would just barely delay failure until my laptop was off warranty, and then they treated off-warranty service like a money-making third-party contract.
There appeared to be an agreement among vendors that nobody would acknowledge the existence of the Nvidia G84 issue because warranties had expired or were close to expiration.
My in-warranty (4 years IWS turned out to be a great decision) T61p had the same issue, and I too had in fact figured out what was wrong with it while my Thinkpad was still under warranty, but Lenovo did not send me a replacement notebook (newer model) until having replaced the planar twice with the same GPU, all of which that had ever been made were known to be defective.
Interestingly, the Nvidia GPU in the newer T410 I got is much slower than what was in the three years older T-series -- when it worked.
"A lucrative market that he said is worth $3 trillion," sounds like a nice market to be. In the last couple of years it looked like Dell was meandering. If the whole time they were internally focusing B2B it will pay off. I know our company, runs entirely on Dell's systems, a high end retailer. Michael Dell's supply chain is great.
It looks like a classic innovator's dilemma case - moving upmarket because they can't beat the disruptive competition at the "lower-end". I expect most "PC leaders" to follow Dell's strategy in the next 5-10 years. Intel and Microsoft will be forced to do the same, if nothing else because they will still consider them their customers.
Though Apple may be impressive, I actually find Dell's complete supply chain much much more impressive. Sure they're rough around the edges for the "experience", but nothing a couple of expensive consultants can't fix. Maybe a mindset change is needed though. I think with some reinventing they can pull it off. Creating a tablet (Dell Streak), pulling back and then planning more tablets is such a "half move"...
There's a reason I said "Maybe a mindset change is needed though." It's the little things and attention to detail. For large organizations, that can be very hard to grasp. It's things like telling you when configuring a Dell computer about every little sticker. No one cares. However, there are plenty of people who still want to be able to configure their computer to the detail Dell allows, without building it yourself.
Dell servers and enterprise storage are second to none, in capability and price. This isn't an "announcement" from Michael Dell, it's a statement of fact: they are a major player in the enterprise IT equipment game.
If you're an IT infrastructure geek, you should check out the way their EqualLogic storage works.
This is why companies like HP are suffering greatly: Apple is hitting into their consumer division, and Dell is hitting into their enterprise edition with capable solutions at a great price point.
This headline is rather link-baity. In the context of the full quote, it's clear that he isn't saying they're not a PC company, but that they aren't just a PC company. Similarly, someone at Apple might say, "We aren't a company that designs cool phone hardware."
Dell: now selling to customers that don't realize they're getting a shit product.
(Actually, I hear Dell's servers are pretty good, and their business laptops have treated me reasonably well. But they are no Apple when it comes to design and polish, and it's nice that they've admitted that ripping-off Apple-shininess is not a good business model.)
That's good news - Dell's (and HP's, for that matter) business machines are simply awesome. I'll never buy a consumer laptop again - heck, the M4600 and M6600 are faster and better looking (IMO) than the most expensive gaming laptops - why would I ever go for the latter?
Dear Michael Dell, regarding your product: Why are you still putting the price as a first argument? Do you really think you can compete against Chinese companies? You frienemy Steve Jobs proved you there is an other path paved with bricks of quality, value, ...