Dell has its Apple moment

Nothing like blogging the bloggers to while away a lazy Friday afternoon. But I particularly liked the post offered by our colleagues over at BusinessWeek who were kind enough to link to a 1997 story about Michael Dell.

Asked what could be done to fix Apple, Dell didn't miss a beat: "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders," he said.

In light of the subsequent history, that one rates right up there with Bill Gates' reported prediction that 640k of RAM would be more than enough for computer users.

Considering Apple's torrid pace these days it's hard to imagine how close the company came to becoming irrelevant to the technology business. But back in 1997, that wasn't so crazy a thought. Gil Amelio, who proved to be an otherwise feckless CEO, did make one good move by bringing Steve Jobs back to the company when Apple bought NeXT in December 1996.

Enough of the stroll down memory lane but don't you just love the reversal of karma? These days the question marks hover about Dell Computer. Not that the mail order maven is about to go bust--far from it. But the company's suddenly stuck in a rut and now it's the target of the naysayers. If Jobs would ever consent to weigh in on the reversal of fortune, I'd love to ask what he'd do to fix Dell.

Wonder if he'd say, "Shut it down."



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