So many computer company success stories begin in humble locations - garages, basements, and cramped college dorm rooms. The story of Dell computers has one of these humble beginnings and starts at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984. It was here that a young Michael Dell created his company, then known as PCs Limited.
Essentially, Dell was hand-building computers from basic components and ensuring they were IBM PC compatible systems. His success was so immediate that his family decided to underwrite the venture, and Dell quit school to focus on his growing business.
In a single year he had started his company and created his first brand name computer known as the Turbo PC. It was a direct to market arrangement, and Dell simply advertised in all of the latest computer oriented magazines. Orders were built per customer specifications and most models cost around $800 or less.
This seems very modest, but during that first year of operations Dell's PCs Limited grossed more than $70 million.
Dell recognized that such growth needed an experienced hand to guide the firm towards sustainability, and so a venture capitalist was hired to help guide the business. By 1988 the company would go public as Dell Computer Corporation, and by 1992 it was among the top 500 largest firms in the world - according to Fortune magazine.
It is interesting to note that by 1992 Dell was still not a name known widely in the consumer market. It was a business systems provider, but that began to shift in the late 1990s with the advent of the Internet. Dell wisely offered upscale computers through its website, and soon their advanced machinery was one of the top selling brands among the growing market of the computer savvy consumers of the world.
The company's emphasis on innovation and the sale of PCs meant for advanced users put it as the number one spot for PCs in the U.S. (as well as number one worldwide for large and medium businesses and workstations) by the end of 1999. (Dell.com, 2014)
By the turn of the century Dell was the number one computer maker in the world. It acquired Alienware, Equallogic, Perot Systems, KACE Networks, Boomi, SonicWall, Wyse, Clerity Solutions, Quest Software, Gale Technologies, Credant Technologies, and StatSoft. By 2012, Dell had invested more than $13 billion in acquisitions, with each providing Dell with leading technology, software, and computer solutions.
Today, Dell still actively pursues acquisitions that will allow them to provide services and products to meet customer demands. "Dell continues to identify areas to expand our offerings, and in some cases, we have acquired outstanding companies with expertise in those area." (Dell.com, 2014)
The corporate motto has become "Listen. Learn. Deliver. That's what we're about", and it would seem that Dell is doing just that. This is recognizable through the list of market segments in which they appear. This includes:
A dominant theme throughout their product lines is long life cycles. The company has many green initiatives, and among them is the long term durability of the machines they build.
The business equipment includes desktop systems such as their Optiplex models, n Series models, Precision workstation units, and power Dimension home desktop computers that can serve business functions. They also have business notebooks, servers, NAS units, network switches, and SANs.
The home and business systems are among some of the most high performing and include the popular desktop and notebooks such as the Inspirons, XPS systems, Alienware gaming systems, and the Venue tablets.
They entered the peripherals market a bit later but are known for their printers, monitors (which include plasma and LCD TVs), HDTV projectors and monitors, and USB keydrives.
Of course, one of the most impressive benefits of Dell's corporate model is that it is dedicated to greener policies. It says it will drop greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in the year 2015, it cut the use of PVC and BFRs in 2011, and the Enough Project (a group hoping to eliminate corporate use of conflict materials) ranked Dell 8th among the top 24 firms.
Dell is innovative and progressive, in touch with consumer and business needs, and aware of its global impact. It had humble beginnings and remains committed to providing customers with that same attentive service.
Dell.com. Company Heritage. Dell.com. 2014. http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/about-dell-company-timeline?c=us&l=en&s=corp&cs=uscorp1
Dell.com. About Dell. Dell.com. 2014.