dell

Michael Dell and US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners have once again increased their offer for Dell Inc, to $13.75 a share. Shareholder voting for the deal now postponed a week until August 2.

The long drawn-out process has resembled a high-stakes poker game, with shareholders so far succeeding to extract higher offers from Mr Dell and Silver Lake. They, however, call this latest offer their “best and final proposal”.

Need a recap of the bidding war so far? Here’s a summary: Read more

Who’s buying?

PC companies just can’t get a break.

Shipments from the Taiwanese manufactures that make most of the world’s desktop and laptop computers hit a three-year low last quarter as consumers waited for fixes to Windows and decided to buy tablets and smartphones in the meantime. For those Taiwanese companies, those disappointing stats are one more reminder of the need to diversify away from their core PC business.

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Chris Nuttall

Michael Dell is ready to tear up the PC model on which he built his business in order to claw back market share lost to Asian rivals such as Lenovo and Asus.

The new high-stakes strategy is revealed in Dell’s 274-page proxy filing released on Friday and is likely to shake up competition in the ailing PC industry. Dell would switch from the build-to-order bespoke PCs that made its name to the “build-to-stock” model of more generic PCs made by its rivals that anticipate demand and are built before a purchaser has been identified.

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Chris Nuttall

Dell has entered the portable All-in-One category with the XPS 18, featuring an 18.4in Full HD screen and up to five hours of battery life.

The XPS 18 is smaller and much lighter with longer battery life than Sony’s 12lb Vaio Tap 20 - the first machine in this new category – and Lenovo’s 27in IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics show in January. Read more

A $500bn game of chicken. That’s what it feels like as a handful of the biggest US technology companies posture over what they plan to do with their “trapped” overseas cash holdings. But like all games of chicken, the end must come eventually – and it’s hard to see that this is one the tech companies will win.

John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, struck the most provocative pose in an interview with the FT last week. After four fruitless years of arguing in Washington for a tax holiday for repatriating his foreign cash to be invested in the US, he says he’s had enough and is going to spend it somewhere else instead.

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It is ironic that both Dell and Apple shared big news last week.

Back in 1998 Michael Dell, then the crown prince of the personal computer industry, recommended that Steve Jobs shut down Apple, which was in dire shape, and distribute the proceeds to shareholders. By contrast, reflecting the turmoil now afflicting all PC makers, Mr Dell is negotiating to borrow money to make his company disappear from public view. Apple, meanwhile, announced that its shareholders would receive a Valentine’s day dividend of $2.5bn – a tiny portion of its $137bn cash pile.

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If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

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Chris Nuttall

For those preferring Windows and a lower-priced all-in-one PC to Apple’s 27in iMac, Dell is offering its first 27in XPS all-in-one from today.

The XPS One 27 is priced from $1,400 – $300 cheaper than the comparable iMac – and I was impressed by the brightness and resolution of the screen in a demonstration – it offers the same 2560×1440 “Quad HD”, meaning four times the resolution of 720p HDTV. Read more

Chris Nuttall

For an extreme gaming PC maker, Alienware has come up with the smallest and most moderately priced machine in its history in the $699 X51.

The company, acquired by Dell in 2006, is looking to expand beyond the 1 to 2 per cent share of the PC market owned by enthusiast gaming PCs, with a model that is quieter, more affordable and less obtrusive in a living room environment. Read more

Joseph Menn

Smack in the middle of the ultrabook and tablet hoopla from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas comes a sobering report from the market researchers at IDC: PC shipments in the critical fourth quarter were down 0.2 per cent from a year before. Read more