Dell's Murky Future

| About: Dell Inc. (DELL)

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) can't seem to keep its promises.

In addition to missing its numbers for the quarter (EPS 3 cents shy of consensus, revenue light by $500 million), Dell ducked its year guidance.

It's not the first time. I wouldn't harp on it if Dell didn't make investors a promise. After all, lots of companies don't give longer-term guidance. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn't. Still, tell me you're going to do something and I expect you to do it.

Here's what Dell promised last November.

We look forward to providing you with an updated outlook for FY '13 in February and continuing to update you on the progress that we're making.

Didn't happen. In February, Dell delayed year guidance:

With our primary objective continuing to be one of reshaping the company for the future, combined with today's more uncertain environment and our continued pruning activities, we're not providing a revenue outlook for the year. We feel this will allow us to focus both externally and internally on our key strategic priorities. We plan to update our longer-term outlook at our analyst meeting in June.

So, today did we get that longer-term guidance? Not a chance. Instead, Dell provided more procrastination. (See also earnings call transcript.)

Based on the uncertain environment and our 1st quarter results we expect to update our full year guidance on the 2nd quarter earnings call in August.

I wouldn't count on getting that forecast in August. At this rate, don't expect to get Dell's year outlook. Think of this as a Dell leap year. Unfortunately for shareholders, the future is just too grim and murky to put a number on.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this document are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned. Past performance of the companies discussed may not continue and the companies may not achieve the earnings growth as predicted. The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but under no circumstances should a person act upon the information contained within. We do not recommend that anyone act upon any investment information without first consulting an investment advisor as to the suitability of such investments for his specific situation.