CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Excerpts: Dell Founder & CEO Michael Dell Speaks with CNBC's Jon Fortt
WHEN: Today, Tuesday, September 23rd
WHERE: CNBC's Business Day programming
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Dell Founder & CEO Michael Dell. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000313126
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
DELL ON GROWTH STRATEGY
We're very interested in the storage market . Certainly, you know, as there are opportunities to expand, you know, organically we'll consider those. Don't have any comments on a specific idea that might be out there.
DELL ON ALIBABA
It's certainly an interesting company. It has been good to see Jack, you know, succeed so much with that platform. I've seen a few studies that have shown that this founder-controlled shareholder structure seems to be working well empirically across a large number of companies. You know, as a private company, that is not something that we think about.
DELL ON GOING PRIVATE
I will tell you that, you know, the kind of absolute, you know, returns in our business are healthy. And so the business is strong. We're certainly paying down debt at a rapid rate. Paid down already $2.4 billion in the first six months of the year. But the beauty of the private structure is that we get to focus our attention essentially 100 percent on our customers.
DELL ON COMPANY STRATEGY
Jon Fortt: You were an early adopter of software as a service – both internally and externally, the interface with customers and that whole arena of social has really exploded. Are the valuations getting out of control?
Michael Dell: You know, I'm sure you can find a better guest to ask that question, I'm not –
Fortt: Not around here. Not in this room.
Dell: I'm not going to opine on the valuations of –
Fortt: But I mean, when you look at things to buy, because you have purchased companies in this space in the past, particularly when it comes to dealing with small business, certainly those types of companies must be more expensive now than they were three or so years ago when I remember some acquisitions that you did. How do you feel about what is going on in the Valley and elsewhere, where these companies are growing up and how acquisition-worthy they are based on how much they cost?
Dell: You know, we are free cash flow people, right? So we absolutely look at getting a return on our investment in a potential acquisition and certainly some of the prices are pretty inflated.
Fortt: What is your tablet strategy? Do you think of the tablet as being different from the PC? Or do you view it at this point as being an evolution of the PC? And as you look at the commercial customer that is your core customer, how do you serve them best?
Dell: We see the notebook as a lineal descendant of the desktop, the tablet is a lineal descendant of the notebook and you know. If you think about it, a tablet, a keyboard, you know, you separate those two, you put them together, now it is a notebook. So you know, first half of the year, our PC business without tablets grew about 15, 16 percent. If you include tablets, it was up in the 20s. So we have very, very fast tablet growth. Both in Windows and Android. And both in commercial and in consumer. And certainly there is growth there. You know, we see the 7, 8 inch type platform as more of a secondary machine as opposed to a replacement. But there is also this interesting 2-in-1 transformer-type machines with roughly the 11 inch screen. That is a very fast growing category and we are all over that. We just showed at the Intel / IDF Forum a new, thinnest in the world, you know, 8.4 inch OLED screen tablet. 2560x1600 resolution, 3D camera, only 310 grams. Fantastic, super light tablet. So we are absolutely in that space.
Fortt: A year ago, a year plus, you were in the throes of this battle for the future of your company. And it seemed to me, to be probably especially personal because your name is on the company. What kind of conversations did you have maybe with your family, with your kids, about why you were doing what you were doing? And a year removed from that, what are you proudest of and what, if anything, do you regret?
Dell: I'm certainly proud that we got it done. It has gone – I thought it would go well, it has gone much better than I thought it would go. And you know, what did I tell my kids and my wife? Well, until we announced it, you know, I didn't tell them anything, right? Because that is the way these things work. But once it was announced, you know, I told them what I was doing and why I was doing it. And yeah, it was a difficult thing for sure, but we got through all that, and you know, business is doing really well. And we are growing and expanding. And like you said, our team at Dell really held together, and continued to persevere and so for whatever challenges we had in doing that, it has all been worth it and you know super excited about the next chapters ahead and you know, I'm still a pretty young guy as far as CEOs go and certainly younger than the average CEO.
Fortt: Certainly younger than Larry Ellison.
Dell: This is true.
Fortt: I mean, are you going to stick around until you're 70 plus?
Dell: We will see. We will see. Could be.
Fortt: Alright. Will you private until you are 70 plus?
Dell: Could be.
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