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Michael Dell Bashes Apple & Steve Jobs On CNBC

Michael Dell Bashes Apple & Steve Jobs On CNBC

by , 12:30 PM EDT, May 18th, 2001

Michael Dell appeared on CNBC's Business Center yesterday evening to talk about his company's fiscal 1st quarter results. During the interview, Michael Dell made the effort to take yet another jab at Apple and Steve Jobs. To be fair to Mr. Dell, he was baited into the conversation by Sue Herera, the co-anchor of Business Center who interviewed Steve Jobs earlier this week after Apple's retail store announcement.

Ms. Herera noted that Dell Computer had so far resisted the move to open its own retail stores, unlike Gateway and Apple, and asked Mr. Dell if his company would ever consider doing so. "No, you know, we figured out 10 or 15 years ago that you don't need stores to sell computers," replied Mr. Dell. He added "We have stores; we call them online stores. Dell.com will generate close to US$20 billion in revenue for us this year. We think the best computer store in the world actually is at dell.com. Physical stores have been tried by a number of our competitors, and generally, actually I would say universally, that strategy hasn't panned out."

CNBC then commented that Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, had compared the new iBook to Dell's own consumer portable offering. She said that Mr. Jobs had said the iBook was better than Dell's portable because it was smaller, lighter, and had more features than Dell's (this is where it gets a little cat-fightish). Mr. Dell replied with "All I got to say to Mr. Jobs is 'I loved Toy Story 2,'" in a reference to Mr. Jobs other job (no pun intended) as the CEO of animation studio Pixar. In a further example of not answering the question, he added "I mean, when you look at the education market, Dell is clearly the leader. As far as the trends in the industry, the trends are quite clear. Windows and Intel are winning. They [Apple] make a fine product, but it's very, very clear what the trend in the market is. And Dell leads in the education market, and I don't expect that's going to change."

So ended the interview.

The Mac Observer Spin:

First of all, we would like you to know that not all Texans are illiterate. Some of us know how to pronounce "nuclear" (hint to our president: It's *not* "nucular," look it up), and not all of us say "all I got to say." 'Tis a sad day when the political and industrial leaders of the US can't speak proper English.

Second of all, Dell operated its own Dell Factory Outlet retail brick and mortar store until about a year and a half ago. We suggest Dell (and CNBC) hire a better fact checker.

Third of all, the enmity between Michael Dell and Steve Jobs goes back to the time when Mr. Dell said that if he was CEO of Apple, he would sell the company's assets and give the money to the shareholders. That's a paraphrase, but you get the point. A year or two later, Mr. Jobs himself said that Apple had their sights set on Dell when they opened the Apple Store (online), and he has often compared Apple's products to Dell's products.

That said, the little jab at Apple and Steve Jobs from Mr. Dell in this interview was beyond childish and petty. His Toy Story 2 quip was funny (above and beyond the incorrect grammar), but it was hardly germane to the question. He was clearly asked to respond to Mr. Jobs saying that the iBook was smaller, lighter, and had more features than Dell's offerings, and the only way he could respond was by taking a cheap shot at Mr. Jobs? He then followed up with inane comments about Dell's lead in the education market? Well, we say that Mr. Dell had best watch out. His perch on the education throne is precarious at best, thanks in part to the very same iBook that is smaller, lighter, and has more features than Dell's products.

One could assume that Mr. Dell doesn't think that he could defend the merits of his product based on the product itself, not that we are putting words in Mr. Dell's mouth. In our opinion, however, Mr. Dell only succeeded in embarrassing himself with his cheap comments and evasive answers.

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