back to article Bloody Dell! The humble notebook made the difference between a crappy fiscal 2021 and a good one

Dell Technologies spent tens billions of dollars to diversify its kit bag beyond computers, yet it was the humble notebook that broke its sales records in 2020. The Texan-headquartered tech giant reported a 9 per cent year-on-year revenue hike to $26.1bn for Q4 of its fiscal 2021, ended 31 January. For the total year, …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

    Except there is no margin in selling notebooks to work from home minions. Even macbooks aren't very profitable.

    It has probably just brought forward the next 3 years of laptop buying.

    There is no brand loyalty in laptops, Every peripheral is USB-c and i can switch from Dell to Lenovo next year with no real overhead compared to swapping out server/SAN brands

    The real money is going to be in all the cloud services to support all these mobile users

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

      There's no margin in selling to the minions directly, but if Dell locks in contracts with corporate entities, then that's a guaranteed revenue stream, one that's unlikely to unravel unless Dell really screws the pooch in some fashion or can be dramatically undercut by another vendor. And I believe laptops are higher-margin than desktop PCs, which means that there's at least some profit growth to be had from that transition. Laptops also have a shorter refresh cycle, by and large.

      On the EMC side, I'm not surprised that EMC has failed to realize value. Storage is pretty much a solved problem, so it's all about either cost efficiency or added features, neither of which is an EMC hallmark, and their data protection suite, apart from Data Domain, is just awful. Once VMware leaves, I can't imagine much will be left of that once-mighty brand worth saving.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

      Margins were pretty good when I worked at Dell. It’s also a misunderstanding of the build to order model if you think it depends on straightforward margin (build cost vs sale price).

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

      That might be true but reality tells a different story. I reminded everyone that laptops have outsold desktops for many years now, regardless of the GPU fight hype, and was heavily downvoted.

      As younger people go more urban their living spaces generally shrink due to cost of living. So fewer and fewer people generally have the space for a desktop computer; add in the "work from anywhere" mantra and I simply never see desktops making a huge comeback in the consumer space (business will always have a good market).

      Even if margins are smaller, the manufacturers have no choice because it is what the modern user generally wants. Now, I've been sacrificing (desktop) power for (laptop) portability for at least 30 years now - I have *always* both believed, and said out loud, that data in your hands when you need it is 100x more important than greater power that is sitting miles away from you on your desk.

      Modern users have (from my perspective) finally embraced that [truth], so I'm thrilled that companies are finally putting as much development cycles into powerful laptop designs instead of making [us] second-class citizens. I only waited 2+ decades for this :-D

      So I'm on the cheerleading side here. YMMV.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

        This is what I don't understand. A desktop computer actually takes up less space on my desk than a laptop, or at least it would if I only had one monitor attached to it.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

          But it also takes up the space of a set of drawers elsewhere - and if space is limited it's not only the space on top of the desk that is limited.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

            It really doesn't. Mine is sitting on the corner of the desk, in otherwise unusable space. The footprint on the desk is less than a laptop.

            Or you could get a Mac Mini or similar sized PC, or even a NUC. They will be at least as powerful as a laptop, and take up a lot less space.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Dell must be glad it's still in that game.

              mini/nuc/other similar sff compute unit is fine, but most keyboards are a comparable size to a laptop footprint... so the desk footprint doesn't actually get much better.

              Additionally if you are very space limited then you will likely want to occasionally go and work somewhere more spacious (or just to be somewhere other than in that space).

              Why are the corners of your desk unusable? Is it because your desk is sufficiently large than you can't reach them easily?

  2. ThatOne Silver badge

    Black Swans

    > "2020 was a year that none of us anticipated and none of us want to repeat," he said. "Yet it was also a period in which tech that helped people work, study and play at home went through the roof. The PC is the hub of this new economic model."

    Goes to prove you never can tell...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $67bn right off

    EMC will be perhaps the biggest financial right off in history and HP/HPE are wetting themselves. Dell are at least 6 years their competitors. they know it and are now paying the price heavily as they are unable to compete.

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