Dell has reported a 79 percent slump in quarterly profit as personal computer sales continued to slide, with people moving to smartphones and tablets.
The firm – which it the world’s third largest PC maker – is currently at the centre of a takeover battle between its biggest shareholders and the company’s billionaire founder, Michael Dell.
He wants to buy back all the shares, taking the company private and turning it into a business-oriented information technology services provider.
The disappointing results lend weight to Michael Dell’s effort. He argues that transformation is best done away from public scrutiny.
Activist investor Carl Icahn and another major stakeholder, Southeastern Asset Management, have dismissed Michael Dell’s go-private deal as too cheap for a company trying to become a major provider of enterprise computing. They are proposing new leadership and additional cash or stock for shareholders.
Icahn’s and Michael Dell’s battle over what direction to take the company underscores the uncertainty in the PC industry, which enjoyed more than a decade of roaring growth until the advent of smartphones and tablets ended that era.
Now, the company that had been upheld as a model of innovation as recently as the early 2000s is steadily ceding ground to lower-cost Asian rivals and mobile hardware makers like Apple.