Dell’s potential savior might be a $100 USB stick that instantly turns any monitor into an Android-based computer, but the struggling PC maker has no intentions of putting all its eggs in one basket. Windows 8.1 is getting ready for liftoff and Dell’s vice chairman Jeff Clarke recently stated that the company has high hopes for the new version of Microsoft’s operating system. Clarke says Dell is planning several new tablets for the second half and according to Digitimes’ supply chain sources, Dell will launch an 8-inch Windows tablet later this year that will target the enterprise market. The site also says Dell is considering a 10.6-inch slate powered by either a Core i or an Atom processor, but no other details were provided.
Dell is said to be working on a new device under the code-name “Project Ophelia,” and reports suggest it will essentially be an Android-powered computer on a USB stick. The struggling PC vendor will apparently use Ophelia to help reinvent itself as company founder Michael Dell continues his efforts to take Dell private, and now the computer on a stick is one step closer to launching. According to a recent report from IDG News Service, Dell’s Project Ophelia “can turn any screen or display with an HDMI port into a PC, gaming machine, or streaming media player,” and it is now shipping to beta testers ahead of a public release scheduled for this fall. The device will be priced around $100, IDG claims.
Windows 8 failed to boost PC sales and now vendors are scrambling to find the next big thing. Companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, LG and Microsoft are all said to be interested in wearable technology, and according to The Guardian, Dell is “exploring ideas in that space” as well. Sam Burd, Dell’s global vice president of personal computing, noted that while there are “challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience,” he believes that wearable computing devices are very interesting and appealing to consumers. Burd explained that devices and form factors will “continue to change” over the next five years, adding that “we’re looking at a world of lots of connected devices.”
Microsoft released its Windows 8.1 preview to the public on Wednesday and it remains to be seen how users will respond. As it turns out, however, the PC industry may be poised to slow its current slide regardless of whether or not Microsoft’s big software update manages to drum up some excitement. According to unnamed industry sources speaking with Digitimes, PC chip suppliers are expected to see shipments pick up in the third quarter as vendors prepare to launch new notebook computers powered by Intel’s Haswell chipsets. The report claims PC makers are expecting sales to improve in the U.S. and China beginning in the third quarter, and component suppliers including Richtek Technology, Global Mixed-mode Technology, Elan Microelectronics and Egalax-empia Technology will begin to see revenue increase significantly beginning this month as orders ramp up.
A special committee setup by Dell’s board to examine Carl Icahn’s proposal to buy the company has found that the investor’s bid is short on funding, Reuters reported. Icahn’s offer countered founder and former CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners’ $24.4 billion buyout proposal. Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management offered to pay a special dividend to shareholders and allow them to keep their stake in the company, however the bid was found to be short $3.9 billion in cash. The investor’s cash allocation did not take into account Dell’s debt, expected cash flow shortages and various other fees relating to the termination of the deal with Michael Dell and Silver Lake. CNET reports that Dell’s board of directors is now encouraging shareholders to vote for Michael Dell and Silver Lake’s offer. The board notes that the deal, which would take the company private if approved, is the “best possible outcome for shareholders.”
One of the most intriguing concepts for the future of the PC industry we’ve heard lately has been Dell’s Project Ophelia, a USB thumb drive-sized “computer-on-a-stick” that can plug into any monitor’s USB port to transform it into a makeshift computer capable of running multiple operating systems. PCWorld reports that an early version of Ophelia that will only run Android will ship out to developers starting in July and could ship out to consumers as soon as August. The first version of Ophelia “will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and is aimed at users who do most of their computing on the Web,” says PCWorld, which means that monitors using Ophelia will be more like Chromebooks than traditional PCs. More →
A special committee that is evaluating the offer from investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management to acquire Dell is seeking additional information about the bid, Reuters reported. Icahn and Southeastern, two of Dell’s largest shareholders, offered a deal worth up to $21 billion in cash that would allow people who own Dell stock to keep their current stakes in the company. Shareholders would be given the option to receive either $12 per share in cash or $12 in additional shares valued at $1.65 per share. The offer counters a $24.4 billion bid led by Dell founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to take the company private. More →
Two of Dell’s largest shareholders have made a new takeover bid for the struggling computer company that will challenge a previous offer from Silverlake and Michael Dell. Activist investor Carl Ichan and Southeastern Asset Management on Friday announced a new plan that would give current Dell shareholders the option keep their stock and receive either $12 per share in cash or $12 in additional shares valued at $1.65 per share. The offer counters a $24.4 billion bid led by Dell founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to take the company private. Icahn and Southeastern hold a combined 13% stake in the company, compared to the 16% controlled by Dell and Silver Lake. More →
Blackstone Group has withdrawn its bid for Dell less than a month after proposing a last-minute offer for the struggling computer company. The private equity firm withdrew its bid after “discovering that Dell’s business was deteriorating faster than previously understood,” Bloomberg reported. Blackstone previously offered the company $14.25 per share to counter a previous bid from founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management’s amounting to $13.65 per share. Investor Carl Icahn is also interested in the company and offered to purchase an additional $2 billion worth of Dell’s stock at $15 per share, and to provide $2 billion of cash equity financing.
Despite negative reception and poor sales, Dell remains committed to Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system. The company has confirmed that it plans to release “future generations” of ARM-based tablets that will be lighter and faster than before, IDG News reported. Neil Hand, Dell’s vice president, acknowledged that adoption hasn’t lived up to expectation, although he believes the platform has a good chance to succeed once users become more familiar with the new tile-based interface. More →
Despite ill omens, the IDC report about PC volume decline hitting -14% in the first quarter shows once again how much trouble the tech industry is having when it comes to dealing with the ongoing computer meltdown. As I wrote last December, IDC has been completely out to lunch about this key trend for years. In March of 2012, IDC was still expecting “desktop and laptop sales to take off in the second half of 2012.” Last December, IDC cheerfully predicted 1.2% growth in computer sales between 2012 and 2016. Of course, the PC industry is tucking into a majestic swan dive that makes those projections downright surreal. How can one of the most respected research firms in the computer sector be so disconnected from reality? The answer is simple: Analysts from largest research firms simply aren’t allowed to call major turning points. More →
There’s a good reason Dell (DELL) wants to go private and back out of the traditional PC business: Because it thinks selling computers based on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows operating system is quickly becoming a dead end. Forbes points us to a recent proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission where Dell outlines the risks of remaining a private PC manufacturer and paints a very grim picture for the PC industry overall. More →
Dell (DELL) on Monday confirmed that it has received two alternative buyout offers from private equity firm Blackstone (BX) and investor Carl Icahn. It was previously reported that Blackstone was considering a last-minute buyout offer for the struggling computer company that would be higher than Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management’s proposal of $13.65 per share. After conducting due diligence, Blackstone formally proposed an offer to Dell’s board that values the company in excess of $14.25 per share, while Icahn’s offer includes purchasing an additional $2 billion worth of Dell’s stock at $15 per share and offering $2 billion of cash equity financing. More →