Dell: Stick A Fork In It

Includes: DELL, HPQ
by: George Gutowski

Dell (DELL) is done in so many ways, you may now stick a fork in it.

From an operating point of view, the entire color gambit is a bust. The entire color strategy really showed that Dell is out of good ideas. Computers' leverage productivity don't improve our lives on either a personal or work basis. The color on the casing is near irrelevant. Dell announces a huge marketing move to emphasize color. Essentially, they announced to the world that they no longer understood their own product.

But wait. Dell even messed up the color strategy. They are experiencing ridiculous delivery and execution problems and are disappointing end users because promised colors are not available. In the 21st century, an era of choice, buyers cannot get what they want.

The color debacle is a corporate metaphor, indicating they are lost in the forest and cannot find their way out.

Regulatory problems continue. The financial statements are not to be relied on. Recent filings with the SEC indicating serious problems are more the norm than an isolated mistake. No one is sure if senior officers can escape the legal fallout. Could Dell survive losing Michael Dell?

Where is the value in Dell? Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is eating their lunch, breakfast, dinner and all the appetizers. In that gray world of strategic thinking, the question is "What should Dell do next?" If Michael Dell just wants to fight it out, that becomes an ego play and the PE valuations on ego plays usually fall apart.

Is the board thinking strategically and planning for the future? Are they at least having a quiet unofficial meeting to voice concerns? They need to make a deal with someone and change for the future. The future is about ideas and Dell is fresh out. Emergency succession planning may require an emergency deal. Shareholder value is usually lost in an emergency.

DELL 1-yr chart: