Michael Dell spent an hour and a half on the phone yesterday with Wall Street analysts outlining his plan to put Dell back on track. It was Dell’s first strategy call since it resolved the accounting problems that forced it to run on radio silence for more than a year, so analysts jumped at the chance to re-connect.
Dell’s new strategy is to "simplify IT" while focusing on on five key areas: Consumers, emerging markets, notebooks, big companies, and small and medium businesses.
Dell went on to outline specific initiatives in each of these broad areas – a new emphasis on design in notebooks; a continued focus on finding new ways to let consumers "see, touch and feel" Dell computers before buying them; and a focus on new devices specifically designed for small businesses, for example.
While Mr Dell was keen to outline his plans for the company, he avoided getting into specifics of how those plans are unfolding thus far. For example, when asked about the progress of Dell’s retail push – a fair question given the fact that the introduction of Dell computers into Wal-Mart and other retail stores seems to have done little to revive the company’s flagging US consumer sales – Mr Dell dodged the question by reciting a list of previously announced retail partnerships.
After more than two years of struggles, investors will no doubt be glad to hear that Dell has begun to identify possible solutions to some of the problems facing its business model. Still, they could be forgiven for hoping for a clearer picture of the progress that has been made to date.
So says Chris Sacca, who has been leading Google’s attempt to shake up the wireless industry.
In a post on his blog, Sacca has just paused to take stock. It was almost exactly a year ago, during a talk at Oxford University, that he first openly attacked the mobile operators for restricting the applications their customers can use. The result: Read more
The Nintendo Wii continued its dominance of next-generation console sales in the first week of the US holiday shopping season.
Nintendo says it sold 350,000 of the $250 Wiis in the Thanksgiving week beginning November 18 – its biggest seven-day sales figure since that of the week it launched a year ago. Read more
Are there any corners of the Web that won’t end up plastered in advertising?
Today comes news of a plan by Adobe and Yahoo! to attach ads to PDF documents displayed inside a browser. Given the A4 size, PDFs leave space for a column of adverts to be attached in the right hand margin of the screen: they will be supplied dynamically by Yahoo, using its standard keyword bidding system and contextualisation engine. Read more
Google Finance, launched in March last year, has failed to put a dent in Yahoo Finance’s lead as the most popular web source of financial news and data.
Google’s service is not even in the top 15 of financial sites and has yet to break 1m unique visitors a month. Read more
Here’s food for thought. The average Infosys employee produces roughly the same amount of profit for his or her company in a year as the average worker at Accenture. And that’s in absolute terms, not relative: an engineer hacking out code in Bangalore is adding as much to the corporate bottom line as a consultant in Manhattan, at around $14,000-15,000 a year.
This was pointed out to me by Infosys chief financial officer V Balakrishnan, who stopped by while visiting San Francisco recently. It’s a sign of the considerable leverage in the business model of the Indian services companies (at around $50,000 a year, revenues per employee for Infosys are only 40 per cent those of Accenture, so the parity on profits looks impressive.) Read more
It’s beginning to look like the Search Wars are over, at least for now: Google has won.
Despite everything Microsoft and Yahoo! have been able to throw at it, Google’s share of the search business has just kept going up, to the point where it finally seems time to declare this contest done (though with two caveats – see below.) Whatever the next front in the battle for online dominance, it looks like it won’t be in search. Read more
MC Hammer may have left his 90s chart hits and wide pants behind, but the rap star is still capable of some nifty dance moves, notably the launch of DanceJam.com, a new online video site.
While YouTube is the home of everything from stupid pet tricks to movie trailers, the explosion of online video means new video “verticals” are emerging – such as the comedy clips on Will Ferrell’s FunnyorDie.com and now DanceJam, still in a closed beta stage. Read more
The junior staffer at HM Revenue and Customs who just mislaid personal data concerning 25m people is in good company. He/she can draw solace from the experience of Jared Ilovar, the Ohio state intern who earlier this year mislaid 800,000 social security numbers.
Funny how cases like these always follow the same pattern: Read more
Did Google just dodge a bullet in the Senate as it moves closer to acquiring DoubleClick? It depends on how you look at it.
A joint letter today from the Democratic chairman and the ranking Republican member of the Senate’s Anti-trust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights committee seems to find little fault with the acquisition. Addressed to the Federal Trade Commission, the letter urges the regulators to think long and hard about the implications of the deal – but it concludes that the politicians haven’t reached "any definitive conclusion" themselves on the matter. An open invitation for the FTC to issue the green light? Read more