They announced a little while ago that Rollins is not only giving up the CEO post, he’s resigning from the company and leaving its board.
“The Board believes that Michael’s vision and leadership are critical to building Dell’s leadership in the technology industry for the long-term,” Samuel A. Nunn, presiding director of Dell’s board, said in the press release. “There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the Direct Model and who has built this company over the last 23 years.”
It’s an interesting story for Microsoft watchers, and not just because Dell has been the largest buyer of Microsoft software.
At Dell, the founder handed off his company to a trusted friend who lost the momentum and stumbled within a few years.
Microsoft has been gradually going through a similar handoff for about five years now with Bill Gates ceding more and more control to Steve Ballmer.
So far Ballmer’s been charging full steam ahead, but I imagine Gates would be inclined to “pull a Dell” if things go astray. That would be an even bigger to-do than the Dell reorganization because Warren Buffett and the rest of the world are counting on Gates to stay focused on philanthropy.
In Dell’s case, it’s all about the company and shareholders.
In the last line of Dell’s release, as if it were a throwaway ending, Dell also said it’s going to miss Q4 expectations. The company expects results “to be below the average of First Call Estimates for both revenue and earnings per share.”
It’s not Microsoft’s fault. Hewlett-Packard is the one putting the hurt, or Hurd, on Dell.
But I wonder how Rollins and Dell would have fared if Vista was ready to roll in time for the holidays.