I've been bearish on Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) for about two years. Under former CEO Kevin Rollins, Dell was slow to embrace Applied Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) processors, failed to scale its support organization and didn't match Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) innovation. Dell, the company, simply wasn't listening to customers.
But with Michael back at the helm, Dell is moving in the right direction. As Computer Reseller News recently reported, Dell is looking to work more closely with technology consultants and integrators. That should help Dell compete more effectively against HP.
Equally important, Dell is listening to customer requests rather than Microsoft hype. A case in point: Based on customer feedback, Dell recently introduced consumer PCs running Ubuntu Linux. That was a bold move, especially since Microsoft is spending millions of dollars to promote Windows Vista.
Sure, Vista remains a big priority for Dell. But supporting desktop Linux is a nice way for Dell to explore an emerging market for new profits.
I suspect thousands of customers visited Dell's online store last weekend when the company unveiled the Linux PCs. I was among the visitors who purchased one of the new systems (here are the details). And I also invested a small sum in Dell stock recently.
So now I'm long on Dell and I expect to receive my Dell Linux PC in about two weeks.
But let's be clear here: Dell isn't back on track just yet. The company still needs to work far more closely with application providers, integrators and global 2000 CIOs.
Turning Dell around will likely take another year or two. Hopefully, early customers like me will be impressed with the Dell Linux systems. If not, some customers -- including myself -- may move on for good.
Disclosure: Author has a long position in DELL
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