Many have by now learned that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a bit, uh, prickly. But Michael Dell found out first hand at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
During the opening of the show, Putin gave a wide-ranging, 40-minute speech. When it came time for questions, Dell asked "How can we help" you with your country's IT infrastructure, according to a report in Fortune.
Putin immediately rebuffed the PC company's founder. "We don't need your help. We are not invalids. We don't have limited mental capacity," Putin responded. (I think the only appropriate response to that is, "Oh, snap!")
Now, I wasn't there, but it's highly unlikely this is anything close to what Dell was suggesting. Fortune writes that the "slapdown took many of the people in the audience by surprise." Um, rightfully so. But that wasn't the end of Putin's verbal judo attack on Dell and his company. Near the conclusion of his talk, Putin reportedly talked up Russian scientists and how they are "respected not for their hardware, but for their software." Double snap.
It's worth noting that Davos can be a humbling place for Dell. My CNET News colleague Ina Fried was at Davos back in 2000 and remembers the sight of Dell flipping slides for a fellow tech executive when the two were part of a panel. The look on Dell's face was priceless. Evidently slide jockey is not a role he coveted.
Update: The video showed up on YouTube. Here it is: