Could a stake in Dell help Microsoft become a “devices” company?

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted January 22, 2013 38 comments

surface blueLast week reports started surfacing about a potential leveraged buyout of publically held Dell, Inc., which would reportedly take the company private as it struggles to keep up in an increasingly mobile world.  Now today, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal are adding Microsoft to the list of potential investors in Dell, with The Wall Street Journal reporting:

The software company hasn’t made a commitment, but if it were to join an investor group for a Dell buyout, its (Microsoft’s) investment would likely be in the range of a couple of billion dollars, this person (a person familiar with the deal deliberations) said.

While The WSJ thinks that “its unclear” what interest Microsoft would have in Dell, it seems to us to be a worthwhile investment if Microsoft is serious about becoming a “devices and services” company, something CEO Steve Ballmer announced back in October in a letter to shareholders, as reported by Mary Jo Foley:

Last year in this letter I said that over time, the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life.

Today, Microsoft announced the final, no really, availability for the Surface for Windows 8 Pro, which will go on sale beginning February 9th in the US and Canada.  The Surface Pro will begin at $899 US, and the Surface RT will get a new SKU (you’ll be able to buy the 64GB version of Surface RT without a Touch Cover, for $599), as well as becoming available in 13 additional markets.

But while Microsoft hopes to gain traction for its “devices” through expansion of Microsoft Stores, gaining the marketing and brand power of Dell, along with a greater ability to influence devices design (at the risk of further alienating its other OEM partners), could make a lot of sense for Microsoft as it moves from a software driven to a devices and services driven company.

Microsoft certainly has “a couple of billion dollars” laying around to invest in Dell, and keeping Dell firmly in the Microsoft camp could help both companies as they move into the Post PC era, so we’ll see how this all plays out.

Posted January 22nd, 2013 at 10:18 am
  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think this is just a strategic/defensive move in case they decide to acquire a devices company down the line. It’s in their best interest to make sure an ‘enemy’ does not get a controlling interest in Dell. Also this can steer them away from making android phones and selling Ubuntu pcs.

  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think this is just a strategic/defensive move in case they (Microsoft) decides to acquire a devices company down the line. It’s in their best interest to make sure an ‘enemy’ does not get a controlling interest in Dell. Also this can steer them away from making android phones and selling Ubuntu pcs.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    You know, Microsoft is already moving into the device, fairly fast. The thing though is what about the other OEMs that Microsoft is partnered with? If they (Microsoft) get too cozy, tensions are likely to heat up.

    • http://geekbug.tk/ Kamran Mackey

      Well Microsoft is already dying, because lot’s of people hate Windows 8. Maybe Microsoft would do better if they didn’t release Windows 8, and just waited a few more years. Windows 7 is supported until what, 2017? That would give them plenty of time to release a fantastic new operating system that everyone likes.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        In my opinion Microsoft will probably never make a great OS anymore.

        I recommend Ubuntu. Nice to see you on a Windows website for a change, instead of trolling Linux ones.

        • http://geekbug.tk/ Kamran Mackey

          No I still go on sites like OMG! Ubuntu!, but I just don’t comment on there anymore.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Ha ha but EVERYONE knows who you are.

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            Not everyone. And anyway, check out my Tumblr. http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            NO thank you. Spamming it every where won’t help either. Just saw a few of your comments at the Disqus blog and flagged them, as they violate their community rules.

            Do you even read commenting rules at websites you visit?

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            yeah they did NOT violate their community rules. Anyway, I’m gonna flag yours now!

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            What a little immature kid. It is common sense to not walk around on somebody else’s website and drop a link to yours, especially if it’s not used in relevant context.

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            I’m sorry but you’re sort of an idiot. DIdn’t you read “And anyway” in the comment I posted a day ago??

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Go off and play with your crappy touch computer. Calling people idiots, especially those who have more technological know-how than you (I can prove that) is quite dumb and makes YOU look bad. And finally, just one question mark. No need for two, that’s irritating to me as I learn to write English correctly.

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            Ooh, yeah say that to the hand Mr. Hazell. I may be younger than you but I know more knowledge than anyone in my ENTIRE school, except for the teachers. And by the way, I don’t have a crappy touch computer. I have a custom built one, using an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, running Windows 7. And I said “sort of” because you’re just being rude and disrespectful to me

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Talk to the hand huh? Makes you sound more immature by the second.

            I don’t care how smart you are. That’s not my concern. I have learned from experience though that the more you make yourself look smart, the more you make others feel stupid…which causes them to hate you for some reason.

            The only custom build machine you can genuinely build is one that you make yourself. Make one and come back, and stick something better than Windows on it that can fully harness the power of a powerful CPU.

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            That’s exactly what I mean by “you’re being rude and disrespectful”. I am not immature and you have no right to call me that. And I built the custom PC all by myself. And Windows is still better than Linux and it always will be, until it can run PC games made for Windows without the need for using Wine. So yeah, I’m keeping Windows, until Apple releases a version of OS X for PC.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Actually, I haven’t really said anything that makes me look smart besides Linux and that I can prove that I have means to prove my knowledge.

            And that’s a big statement to say about Linux. I’ll make this aware that you said this the next time I catch a comment from you there. You have to open up your eyes, man! Windows does have advantages but Linux has a lot more potential and shine, especially after Windows 8.

            And also, I’m tired of messing up this pages’ thread by trying to reply to you. Find another place if you want to continue this. Tip: Hovercard.

          • http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com/ Kamran Mackey

            Then let’s continue this convo over Facebook, link’s on my Disqus profile. But ya gotta add me first.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Nope. I don’t use Facebook. Go use the chat widget at my website, since it’s more user friendly.

          • Guest

            Are you saying Facebook is not user friendly?

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    You know, Microsoft is already moving into the device, fairly fast. The thing though is what about the other OEMs that Microsoft is partnered with? If they (Microsoft) get too cozy, tensions are likely to heat up.

    • Guest

      Well Microsoft is already dying, because lot’s of people hate Windows 8. Maybe Microsoft would do better if they didn’t release Windows 8, and just waited a few more years. Windows 7 is supported until what, 2017? That would give them plenty of time to release a fantastic new operating system that everyone likes.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        In my opinion Microsoft will probably never make a great OS anymore.

        I recommend Ubuntu. Nice to see you on a Windows website for a change, instead of trolling Linux ones.

        • Kamran Mackey

          No I still go on sites like OMG! Ubuntu!, but I just don’t comment on there anymore. But I may start commenting on it again. But if I do, I won’t be trolling.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Ha ha but EVERYONE knows who you are.

          • Kamran Mackey

            Not everyone. And anyway, check out my Tumblr. http://kamranmackey.tumblr.com

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            NO thank you. Spamming it every where won’t help either. Just saw a few of your comments at the Disqus blog and flagged them, as they violate their community rules.

            Do you even read commenting rules at websites you visit?

          • Kamran Mackey

            yeah they did NOT violate their community rules. Anyway, I’m gonna flag yours now!

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            What a little immature kid. It is common sense to not walk around on somebody else’s website and drop a link to yours, especially if it’s not used in relevant context.

          • Kamran Mackey

            I’m sorry but you’re sort of an idiot. DIdn’t you read “And anyway” in the comment I posted a day ago??

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Go off and play with your crappy touch computer. Calling people idiots, especially those who have more technological know-how than you (I can prove that) is quite dumb and makes YOU look bad. And finally, just one question mark. No need for two, that’s irritating to me as I learn to write English correctly.

          • Kamran Mackey

            Ooh, yeah say that to the hand Mr. Hazell. I may be younger than you but I know more knowledge than anyone in my ENTIRE school, except for the teachers. And by the way, I don’t have a crappy touch computer. I have a custom built one, using an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, running Windows 7. And I said “sort of” because you’re just being rude and disrespectful to me

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Talk to the hand huh? Makes you sound more immature by the second.

            I don’t care how smart you are. That’s not my concern. I have learned from experience though that the more you make yourself look smart, the more you make others feel stupid…which causes them to hate you for some reason.

            The only custom build machine you can genuinely build is one that you make yourself. Make one and come back, and stick something better than Windows on it that can fully harness the power of a powerful CPU.

          • Kamran Mackey

            That’s exactly what I mean by “you’re being rude and disrespectful”. I am not immature and you have no right to call me that. And I built the custom PC all by myself. And Windows is still better than Linux and it always will be, until it can run PC games made for Windows without the need for using Wine. So yeah, I’m keeping Windows, until Apple releases a version of OS X for PC.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Actually, I haven’t really said anything that makes me look smart besides Linux and that I can prove that I have means to prove my knowledge.

            And that’s a big statement to say about Linux. I’ll make this aware that you said this the next time I catch a comment from you there. You have to open up your eyes, man! Windows does have advantages but Linux has a lot more potential and shine, especially after Windows 8.

            And also, I’m tired of messing up this pages’ thread by trying to reply to you. Find another place if you want to continue this. Tip: Hovercard.

          • Kamran Mackey

            Then let’s continue this convo over Facebook, link’s on my Disqus profile. But ya gotta add me first.

          • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

            Nope. I don’t use Facebook. Go use the chat widget at my website, since it’s more user friendly.

          • Guest

            Are you saying Facebook is not user friendly?