As a large provider of computer products and services across both the business and computer sectors, Dell Inc. competes most closely with Hewlett-Packard Company and Lenovo. Dell also competes with IBM Corporation in the business hardware and software arenas, as well as with Apple Inc. and many other makers of consumer PCs. A year after taking Dell private in 2013 with the help of a $2 billion loan from Microsoft Corporation, company founder Michael Dell announced that Dell had made significant investments over the previous year in business sector markets such as data analytics and cloud services.
Like Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo and IBM, Dell provides business products that include computer servers, data storage devices, PCs, and enterprise software. And like these business rivals, Dell sells printers, networking hardware, monitors, other computer peripherals, and cloud-based information technology services. IBM, however, essentially left the consumer computing sector in 2004 upon selling its PC business unit to Lenovo.
As of June 2018, Dell continues to sell the following products for the consumer sector: desktop PCs, laptop PCs, printers, monitors, TVs and home theaters, and cameras and camcorders. Dell's consumer PCs compete with products from HP, Lenovo, Apple, Acer and Asus, for example. However, unlike any of those rivals, Dell no longer offers smartphones. The company also collaborates with Samsung on their Galaxy brand tablets.
Dell and Mobile Devices
Dell is repositioning toward a greater business computing focus following 10 years of failed consumer devices, which began with an unsuccessful Apple iPod rival called the Dell DJ, released in 2003. In 2010, Dell came out with a barrage of other mobile devices that also failed to catch on with consumers, such as a hinged tablet known as the Inspiron Duo, as well as the Aero, Streak and Venue Pro phones.
In August 2012, when the company's stock was still publicly traded, Dell announced financial results for the fiscal 2012 second quarter that showed growth in the server, networking and service markets but steep sales declines in Dell's mobile products. At the end of that year, Dell officially left both the smartphone and Android mobile device markets.
Just as Dell started to move toward a larger business sector emphasis, though, Lenovo began expanding beyond its triumphs in the business and consumer PC markets with successful attempts to copy Apple's move into consumer phones and tablets. Meanwhile, in October 2014, Hewlett-Packard split itself into two divisions: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, for business computing products, and HP, for consumer computing products.
Since going private in 2014, Dell no longer has a legal obligation to display their earnings or financials to the public. However, for 2017, the company released an annual report concerning some key figures. One of the figures included the announcement of $74 billion in combined revenue from Dell's seven brands. These results also reflected strong investment in R&D, which added up to $12.7 billion in the last three years and dedicated $4.5 billion of annual spending on R&D for the foreseeable future. The report also claimed that the company had saved investors $380 million in electricity costs in 2017.
In June 2018, reports said that Dell will re-enter the stock market after a four-year absence. Although these plans are in the works, expect to see more news on Dell's financials.