A Tale of Two Techs—Dell and Apple

Dell is trading sharply lower after reporting disappointing top line growth and slashing its revenue forecast for the year. The tech firm now sees full-year sales growth of just 1%-5%, down from its prior forecast of 5%-9% growth.

The problem: declining home PC sales as consumers turn away from clunky desktop computers in favor of more portable computing devices like tablet PCs and even smartphones—most notably, Apple’s popular iPads and iPhones.

Just looking at Dell and Apple over the past year clearly shows what is fueling growth in the marketplace. What a difference a year makes!

When Apple and Dell reported their earnings last summer, their quarterly revenues were roughly inline with each other. In its Fiscal Q3 2010 report (quarter ending June 2010), Apple reported $15.7 billion in revenues, while Dell reported revenues of $15.5 billion in its Fiscal Q2 2010 report (quarter ending July 2010).

A year later, Dell’s revenues are essentially flat (up 1% to $15.7 billion) while Apple’s reported sales of $28.6 billion surged 82% from the year-ago quarter thanks to enormous growth in iPhone and iPad revenues (sales up 150% and up 179%, respectively). That comes as Dell’s desktop PC sales fell 3% in the latest quarter.

Quarterly Revenues

Summer 2010
Summer 2011
Apple $15.7 billion $28.6 billion
Dell $15.5 billion $15.7 billion

In fact, in its latest quarter, Apple’s iPhone revenues of $13.3 billion alone neared the total company-wide revenues in Dell’s most recent quarter.

Over the past year, shares of Apple are up 52%, far outperforming the 21% rise in Dell’s stock. (Track real-time quotes for both here.)

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