Carl Icahn targets Dell, HP before the PC goes 'downhill'

The U.S. PC industry for sale? Carl Icahn thinks so. And he wants to move fast before the PC dies.

Carl Icahn.
Carl Icahn.

We know Carl Icahn wants to buy Dell . But he also has his eye on the other half of the U.S. PC industry. But don't worry, this will all happen before the PC dies.

The other half would be Hewlett-Packard. Icahn is pondering the merger of Dell with HP, according to comments he made to Bloomberg TV on Friday.

Michael Dell needs to be fired first, though.

"We think it's very important that you have a new CEO [at Dell]...We need more than a bit of a cultural change at Dell. Michael Dell, I just think he's not the guy for that at this point. I'm not saying it alone," Icahn said.

He had a few more choice words about Michael Dell. "I think this board just gave this stock away to Dell, as boards too often do...I laughingly say that I respect the way he has gotten the board to give him this bargain. I've never met him. I think he's a smart guy, but he would not be the one to run this company."

Then on to HP. "There is a shot down the road that we could -- with the PC business -- merge with Hewlett-Packard," Icahn said. At another point he said: "We might acquire somebody in the business like Hewlett-Packard."

And the PC? It's on a long road to nowhere. "The PC business is going downhill. In the case of Dell, we believe it will take a long time for it to go downhill." (That's a compliment apparently.)

But he can't be too negative when he's trying to buy a PC company. "We believe the PC business is still extremely attractive for the short-term because it's necessary. PC's are not going way. Microsoft depends on Dells and Hewlett-Packards."

Icahn seems to be saying that there is value in Dell's enterprise, aka corporate, software business.

"Much more importantly, there's the software business. The enterprise software business. And Dell is in a great position for that. With the cloud, with the applications in middle-sized business. There's great potential," he said.

The activist investor has a net worth of $20 billion, according to Forbes.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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