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In 1997 Michael Dell said that if he were in charge of Apple he'd "shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." Today, Apple is the world's most valuable company.

My two conclusions from this:
1. Great products, great platforms, and visionary leaders = a powerful combination.
2. The high tech industries are the most dynamic the world has ever seen.
Apple became the most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization on Tuesday, passing Exxon Mobil.
Fabio Bazurto's profile photoDainaz S Illava's profile photoGregg Wonderly's profile photoGuy From KCMO's profile photo
the ability of the leader to evoke vision is what makes a company great, good, or simply go away...
Huge congratulations to Apple on all their success but my comment was widely repeated was taken massively out of context. Anyone who was there in person and heard the entire conversation in context would know that. As the founder and CEO of Dell I do not think about what I would do if I were running another company, do not offer advice for other companies and did not think about it a decade and a half ago.
Michael, thanks for weighing in so quickly, and for putting your 1997 remark in context. I certainly don't want to put you on record as saying anything you didn't mean. Can you tell us what point you were trying to make at that time and place?
Truly outstanding, there is something terribly wrong when a nation can empower SJ's brilliance or Gate's benevolence and yet fails so miserably at Democracy.
Michael, what was the context? Can you provide background to explain this with more background or detail for the rest of us at home? Is there a transcript somewhere? I've never seen anything more than this quote with attribution.
This article from 1997 (the first hit in Google for "michael dell shut down apple") doesn't paint your comment in a favorable light:

I honestly can't find a source with a complete transcript or context so I'd love to find something with more detail.
My point was I had no desire to answer the question. My answer was a non-answer. If you were there and heard my first two answers to the question....I said, I'm not going to answer that, give me a different question. The point I was trying to make with my answer.. there was no point. I did not want to answer the question because I am the CEO and founder of Dell and don't think about running other companies. The whole thing is pretty silly... This should not take anything away from Apple's great success. Again, Congratulations to them.
Michael's comment makes me think he has a career in politics. He conveniently avoids saying what his context was. I don't know why these guys find it so hard to say, mea culpa.
What's with the 'justify your comment' back in 96 we all thought Apple was finished. MD's comment was good advice, who knew SJ had such an extraordinary gift.
Would the term cheap shot be fair? An edgy, humorous response that has enough truth or true opinion to sting. Or "An unfair or unsporting verbal attack on a vulnerable target."
Michael, thanks once again for joining our conversation; I appreciate it. And I take your point that it's inappropriate for the CEO of company A to be asked what he'd do with company B. I think I'd try to avoid answering it, too.
This goes to show how difficult it can be to predict the future of technology companies. Many folks were predicting the demise of the company at that time.
While on the subject of Apple, let's not forget the other turnaround story, IBM. I recall vividly when IBM stock was in the mid-thirties (actual price in those days). A lot of observers were predicting its demise, and Lou Gerstner was under a lot of pressure to break up the company from Wall Street. No hip products but solid performance recently through multiple generations of technologies. Not a consumer products company like Apple so wont have the same revenues, but notable nonetheless.
Vijay, great point. IBM has also been through an astonishing turnaround. I have trouble thinking of two other big companies that have done such a great job of coming back from the brink. Anyone else got good examples?
Thanks +MichaelDell. Your second reply now puts it in context. 
Agree with +Steve Elmore - This is an amazing example of the power, transparency and inclusiveness of G+. Regarding other turnarounds, I'll offer up AT&T. While not regarded in the same light as Apple, they are an old line corporate giant from another era. They had their share of struggles, and now are one of the dominant players in the tech space.
Also agree with +steve elmore. It is a great example of G+ potential. +michael dell is also showing this potential with his hangouts and thinking on how to leverage G+.
Thanks Michael. Good answer. :)

Social media really is remarkable - Nowhere else would I hope for you to see my question or reply.
+Neil Bonner CEOs have to wear multiple hats, including that of a politician..whatever it takes to help lubricate their businesses to succeed
Frankly, say what you will about the topic, but it shows me someone like +Michael Dell has the courage and conviction to express himself in a public forum. We need more CEOs to express this courage, instead of hiding behind administrative assistants, legal disclaimers, and worse....silence...
Back from the brink? Add GM and Fiat--a couple of champs from the old economy.
Isn't Ford a better example? The most resilient during the crisis.
true, but the quesiton was about finding companies that had come back from the brink. which Ford did, but in the 1980s (Peterson getting the credit for Phil Caldwell's turnaround)
+Michael Dell expressed an opinion and he may have been right then but Apple realized that simplicity and technology combined will create a new unseen user experience and wen for it.. So now Apple is ripping the fruits of creativity and excellent execution plus marketing ..
I think +Michael Dell was answering the question from the perspective of the CEO of Dell computer, not as if he was ONLY the CEO of Apple. If he was both the CEO of Dell and Apple then it makes perfect sense to shut one down. It's eliminating a competitor. I don't think he was answering the question as if he was Apple's CEO and not Dell's too.
At this point in time, Microsoft stepped in with a $150 million cash infusion. No one knew what was inside Steve Jobs head and what it was "worth". :) You can take 100 experts looking at the DOW now and no one forsaw with absolute certainty the Dow was going to plummet although we all knew that all the fundamentals were pretty bad. Michael could have very well been right. Had it not been for some excited neurons and the genius of Steve J. Interesting URL.
AAPL is over-valued, their revenue and profit margin do not support such a high market cap. ExxonMobil was briefly passed on Tuesday by one measurement of corporate size (market cap), but in terms of global size and impact, the largest companies are still in the Oil and Energy sectors. You could also make the argument for Wal-Mart being the largest single entity, but the breadth of their offering is only hampered by rising costs in a market of decreasing demand (hence decreasing profitability). Apple is a luxury brand for the IT industry, and a virtual supplier of digital media. I have been using Apple products since their inception and continue to believe that they produce dominant technologies, but without the esthetic makeover of the late 90s, it is entirely possible that the company would have failed and I would be incapable of writing this post from my MacBook Pro 13" with an i7 processor and 512GB Solid State Drive. This computer boots up in 7 seconds, unlike my Dell at work which takes up to five minutes to reboot.
In 1997, I also thought Apple was a lost cause. They had lost in almost every front. Both hardware and software. The only thing Apple had left was a firm commitment from its people, especially leadership. Those guys knew that Apple was ahead of its time and they just needed to wait for the world to catch up with them.
Microsoft is now reaping the benefits of having saved a company that could later lead the market and allow MSFT to follow.
As Co-Founder of the Windows User Group Network, I've worked very closely with Microsoft over the last twenty some years. In 1995, Microsoft left CompuServe to do all its support (PSS division) on the Internet. We took over the Microsoft Connection for CompuServe's then several million dial-up customers. I've been a Microsoft fan boy for a long long time. But it has never stopped me from recognizing Apple technologies as excellent. It's no secret that Bill Gates is a fan of Steve Jobs. In fact, I recall being on the Microsoft Campus in the early days and going by the accounting/biz dept and pretty sure they were running Macs:) Prior to starting WUGNET, I had done some desktop publishing consulting and writing on the topic. Everyone in the print industry used Macs and Photoshop. We attempted to publish the first Windows Journal (our independent tech journal) on the first stable version of Aldus Pagemaker for Windows. Some of the issues ran 72 pages. My partner Joel Diamond and I patiently sat in front of a 386 Compaq composing the pages. We learned the two finger salute. CTRL-S. (Save). Aldus would crash every 15 minutes. We tried to use Windows 1.0 but it was too unstable to do anything but run Charlie Kindle's BogusWare an unofficial set of small freeware applications he and another Microsoft employee authored. Charlie just left Microsoft yesterday to start his own venture. Once I acquired my first iPhone I was completely blown away and enthralled by its usability. Then my Ipad. Apple gets it. Simple is good. Stable is good. But they have a huge advantage. If they have to embrace an open platform like Microsoft you have a huge task. It's easy to throw stones at Michael's PC's or Microsoft but do you realize how many devices they must support and test on the OS ... thousands. As I started downloading more and more Apps to my iPhone, apps were crashing all over the place. Then vendors started updating their apps and things stabilized.
+Michael Dell Who cares, you run a successful business and are in touch with your customer base Steve runs a successful and is in touch with his sheep. The truth is Apple can't last forever like this.
John somewhere back in the thread I thought someone commented about Dell taking forever to load. It was an attempt to respond to that albeit I did ramble on. Sorry I did drift off point to the topic of Michael's predictions.
+Howard Sobel I skipped a bunch of comments and I was like wtf! Is this dude talking to a wall?
Since +Michael Dell commented on one of my posts by linking to this thread, I thought I'd respond here. (The original post: )

It's easy to single Michael out, but he was hardly alone -- even if his comment was intended to shut down the line of questioning. Remember that Bill Gates expressed similar sentiments in 1998 during an interview with Robert X. Cringely (recorded for a never-published Vanity Fair article): "What I can't figure out is why he (Steve Jobs) is even trying (to be the CEO of Apple)?...He knows he can't win."

It's perfectly understandable why folks back then were making dire predictions; any goodwill towards Apple had pretty much been decimated by the one-two leadership punch of Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio. And those of us living through the "dark years" knew that bankruptcy loomed. What Steve did in turning the company around was nothing short of a business miracle. But keep in mind that it didn't happen overnight, and there were still failures along the way (e.g., the G4 Cube.)

Still, Apple bashing has always been good for headlines; even now people continue to sound the death knell for the company. While not Michael this time, a Dell exec did go on the record in March of this year predicting that Apple would fail in the enterprise -- a prediction that seems to be contradicted by stories such as this one:

As for Apple's health in the future? Who can say. With the brand is so tightly linked to Steve we should all hope he regains his health and lives a long life.

If you’re interested in seeing the pundits who have called Apple’s demise over the years -- including as recently as last month, you can find more here: (Just goes to show how tricky this prognostication business really is.)
Apple rock and so do their products. The competitors can't just match them that's why they are, where they should be. But Android will def. give them a tough competition. Because of inability to innovate by Microsoft, see where they were and where they are today.
It is as simple as this ... forcefully getting a successful chairperson/CEO, commenting sympathetically at an organization which is not doing too good at that point of time ... then later using the same comments to sell their weekly magazines/newspapers and registering max hits on their blogs/sites/etc to generate revenue... or even worse hit back at them after more than a decade!
first , as +Michael Dell said: Huge congratulations to Apple on all their success . that is a great person should be do :respect your challengers

second I want say I had ipod and ipad ,in fact I do not think is good enough,because I head better sound form sony/create's player etc . and I had better experience from PC ,yes ,I use PC over 15 years and I konw PC how is working ,that is big fun for me . but if some one (in fact most one) do not konw PC and never expericnced what is the good thing , then they will enjoy apple's product because it is very easy to using . for example my son :)

what is my concern is if we keep using this kind of product ,easy to using but don't how is working , does we whether lost we own thirst for knowledge?

sorry for drift off the course.
At one stage I thought Apple were ran by Dell, or shared partnerships, think about it, Hackintosh only works well on Dell systems due to their love of Intel graphics and Intel processors, using modified Intel & A-Bit motherboards, dell have the right idea about personal computing, unfortunately Apple are miles ahead. All Dell need to do is start going the more nVidia & ATI route, not just in their XPS's, I'm saying more in their Desktop Home Computing range, not Intel Intergrated Graphics, something like an nVidia 9600GT or something, I know reliability will go down, because Intel are a solid manufacturer and Dell has proven that with their systems, but it would push them further. The only AMD dell I know off is the old Dimensions 5000 I had, it was slow, unreliable, but it was the graphics that pushed it ahead of my SX280. Come on dell, hear my idea, Please tell me Michael if I'm making any sence, I would love to hear from you directly!
Sorry, to add to my last comment, My Dimensions 5000 died way before my SX280, bought them both in 2004 I think, one was ment to be for the office, and the other for downstairs, and the 5000 was very unstable and crashed. the SX280 is still kicking now, running Vista on its P4 3.2GHz, only problem is, Vista doesn't like the Intel 915G graphics, if only it was a built in nVidia or ATI IGP or something. Adding extra boom for the same price makes it futureproof...
+Michael Matthews - I never able to run a computer more than 3 yrs. For me, its the issue on OS more than who made/delivered the chips or motherboard. Moreover, SX280 are built to last longer, its enterprise grade, it's Optiplex, which is why it should last longer than any Dimension series. :)
It is ironic how the world hangs on to a few words -- that too taken out of context. If one wants to understand Michael, just read the book "Direct from Dell". You will understand the passion of a man who hates inefficiencies. Frankly, at that time, 14 years ago, Apple was the most inefficient company, struggling. No doubt, Steve did a great job turning it around into a kind of company Dell was in the 80s and 90s...
True +Muhammad Abubakar , but running on a 2.7 GHz i7 processor and 8GB of RAM in a 13" laptop with a 512GB SSD, I've yet to see Dell do anything close to that. Only Sony comes close at this stage. We can talk all about the differences in micro architecture and operations per cycle, but the actual point we should really be discussing is the fact that this computer has not had to be rebooted once since I purchased it three months ago. No crashes, no unplanned downtime. Battery life is exceptional: 8 hours no problem. I challenge +Michael Dell to come up with anything close to this computer off the shelf. I ran a Google Search Appliance Server and was saddened to see that so much of it was built on Dell parts, although it should be a testament to Dell that Google depends so heavily upon them for much of their processing power. Nonetheless, the PC-dominated business world is about to end with the many cloud-based offerings that are now evening the playing field for us Mac-users, and even mobile device users, which is another area where Apple has clearly proven its dominance.
Oh, and I'll even pay for the computer, +Michael Dell, you can advertise it if you'd like.. I've owned everything from a Commodore 64 to present. When you were probably just getting your first computer, I was using a 300 baud modem to connect to the internet (before Al Gore invented the internet). I'm 31 years old, but was raised with a computer in my house since the day I was born, long before Dell incorporated or even had the idea of getting into the industry. Dell makes affordable PCs for consumers and businesses, and that's what they do best. If they wanted to compete on the basis of computing power or luxury, they would go the route of Sony and Apple and step up to the challenge. Clearly it doesn't fit their business plan. +Michael Dell is making future eWaste and operating under the assumption that his market will replace their computers every three years. Apple computers will run forever, and I should know, my very first Macintosh, which I got when I was 5 years old (1984), still boots up to this day. Never had a virus on any of my Macs or Apples. My Mac+ still works, my Mac II still works, etc. Are they still useful? Not at all. Moore's Law was categorically (and exponentially) disproven over the last decade, so really all my old computers do is serve as future museum pieces I suppose. Nonetheless, nothing on the PC market comes close to the reliability and superior performance of a Mac, and a Dell is a mid-grade PC at best.
+Muhammad Abubakar , I followed your instructions and could not custom configure an 11-14" laptop with a SSD at all. Dell is just not there yet. Not far away, I'm sure, but not quite there... yet. Apple is always there first. You can call it luxury, expensive, or excessive even, but reliable and consistent is worth the extra money to me. I run Safari and find it very secure. There are programs one can install on a Mac that go beyond just simple "antivirus" protection, including a program I run that prevents my computer from sharing data with any unapproved networks, notifying me of all attempted queries and uploads from my computer (which I can then prevent). I have not seen any such program exist for PCs, which are, by nature, more vulnerable due to the .exe extension, for starters, and about a hundred other vulnerabilities I don't care to go into right now. The Apple OS is more secure, not just because of a lack of market penetration (which I assure you there is plenty), but also because it is just plain harder to write viruses that would break directories or create recursive loops to affect performance, etc. I don't really think there is much of an argument here; most professionals in the industry agree that Apple is more secure (universally) than PC. Still vulnerable, sure, but I'd venture to guess anywhere from 100-1000 times less vulnerable than any Dell on the market. Last, but not least, let's not forget about hardware security. Apple wins on that hands-down. What most PC users see as a weakness of Apple (the lack of plug-and-play upgradeability or interchangeability), I see as a strength and always have. Like I said before, all my Macs still work, dating back to 1984, because they are built to last.
By the way, +Andrew McAfee , I agree with +Michael Dell ; why not shut it down and distribute the money to the shareholders. He was talking about one of his largest competitors at the time. I'm sure glad no one listened to him, especially for the sake of the shareholders. If I were in charge of Dell, I'd shut it down and distribute all the money to the shareholders (oh, that's right, Michael Dell is the largest shareholder, owning approximately 13% of all shares outstanding). I'd also sell Michael Dell's house in Austin and his helicopter and donate the money to charity. See, it's easy to say things like this when it's not your decision to make.
Stolen from the creators and altered to create an outcome that restricts experience with the focus on success rate of a controlled outcome is flawed, built on the rules of the free exchange, Apple will be known as a defeat of our economy and lesson for mankind against restriction.
+Stephen Oh My SX280 has been going forever, only thing thats died on me is the Hard Disk, put 1TB SATA HDD and it's still working now. I haven't had ONE problem with this machine, one blue screen and it hasn't crashed ONCE, still stock RAM (1GB DDR2) just upgraded hard disk. everything is exactly how it came out of the box. Vista doesn't kill it either, even on its single-core P4! I'm really surprised about Dell and there amazing build quality, only thing that lets it down is the silly Intel Graphics.
David, good catch. +Michael Dell , do you draw a distinction between commenting on other companies' moves (your 2011 comments on HP) and saying what you'd do if you were their CEO (your 1997 comments on Apple)?
+Muhammad Abubakar Steve is dead, he dont have luck. +Andrew McAfee i got Dell point, it was irreverent n brilliant. Its not my company right?. But i didnt get ur point of say "And I take your point that it's inappropriate for the CEO of company A to be asked what he'd do with company B. I think I'd try to avoid answering it, too" u are crying on dead flowers Andrew. Thanks for sharing.
+Michael Dell
I don't know about any of this spiel but I do know I far more likely to actually spend money on Dell products before anything from closed sourced vendor locked Apple. I'm a PC d***it :p
Tim Cook is surely doing a great job delivering fantastic results to its shareholders.
The PC market place is just as "closed" as any other OS, because you have OS lock in.  If you want "competitive pricing on hardware", then you are asking for the cheap junk you get in the PC market.  There is little money per hassle to be saved in the long run.  Why not buy a product that the "OS Vendor" supports 100%?  Do you think that Microsoft is creating stores and branding their own mobile devices because it's "fun".  Do you think Microsoft has an investment in the Dell privatization because it's fun to spend money?

It sure appears to me, that Microsoft is going to "own" Dell before too long, and that is going to be the "PC brand".   They are closing down the money making, cheap hardware free for all that has cost them a lot of business to people who have found a completely different experience when they've moved to OS-X and a 100% supported product line.   The stability of the Windows OS is abysmal, because the HAL opens the door to nonsense drivers, and Microsoft's inability to create secure software systems.  Microsoft is closing doors and locking things down as fast as they can, in an attempt to save their business, before it melts into a large pool of just cheap junk.

The PC market is going to be very similar to what you see in the Apple market place before too long.  It's just not possible for Microsoft to survive as a software company if they can't successfully manage the hardware that their software is run on.

If you have not read up on how the Windows-RT development was done, and how the supported hardware pieces can almost be counted on your fingers, and how "cheap" was not allowed, I'd suggest you go do that.
+Gregg Wonderly
I use Linux, on a non a non UEFI tower PC, not Windows. I've never paid for software in my life. And I don't keep anything in the cloud that I can keep on my hard drive. I could not care less if Microsoft or whatever folds into oblivion. When I do get a mobile phone it'll be a rooted device with no adware or trackware. For on the go stuff I'm perfectly happy lugging around a big old unlocked x86 Laptop (or "notebook")
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