Carl Icahn attacks beleaguered Dell’s scare tactics and ‘abysmal record’

“Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, with his trademark brashness, this morning worked to debunk objections to his leveraged recapitalization proposal for Dell, the latest volley by Icahn against the PC maker’s board,” Abram Brown reports for Forbes.

“In a new letter to shareholders, Icahn foremost renews his argument that the computer company is deliberately sabotaging itself, to create the appearance that the business is deteriorating in a way that would make investors more likely to take the easy route out and accept the $24.4 billion, $13.65 a share, management-led buyout,” Brown reports. “At the same time, Icahn is offering a $14-a-share buyback program, along with a warrant that would allow investors who stick around to buy more shares (once the stock goes higher).”

Brown reports, “A prominent proxy adviser firm last week choose the management buyout, in which Dell would sell itself to its billionaire founder Michael Dell and private equity shop Silver Lake Partners, rather than Icahn’s idea primarily because it fears the leveraged recap would prolong the comeback that Dell needs… As for whether his proposed directors might lose, Icahn says, ‘This is nonsense because it makes no sense to believe stockholders will vote to elect the current board with their abysmal record and turn down our recap offer.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Dung beetles fighting over a rancid turd.

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  1. I hate to say it but, until Apple management decides they really do want to sell to big companies and offer the level of on site services that Dell offers (pre-imaged systems prior to shipping, option for 4 hr response 5 days a week for upto 5 years), Dell will be able to keep selling servers and desktops. I am working at a start up where we would prefer to use Macs for per configured “appliance” systems (where pre-shipping imaging at the factory would be a big benefit), we are forced to seriously look at Dell. Mostly for the on site 4hr service across the country. Yes, I’ve heard of field nation (who Apple uses for warranty work), but we don’t want to/can’t be in the computer services management business. If we have a customer who bought a system from us, we want to just manage our software and have someone else deal with the hardware. We can compile it to run in Mac OS, Linux or Windows but don’t have the resouces to manage/support multiple platform versions for software that has to tightly interact with attached hardware (driver are there for all three platforms). I hate it. I want us to use an Apple hardware solution but don’t want us to be in the nationwide field hardware support hardware business where Apple only provides a one year warranty and each embedded system has to be supported for 4-5 years. (iPads and Androids are the end user clients)

    1. You can easily re-image a Mac. That is a very minor issue, IMO. The rapid response support requirement is a more valid concern, although my experience with Apple products has shown their hardware to be of superior quality and reliability. As you state, Apple does not provide enterprise type support. However, it would be straightforward for your company to set up a mutually beneficial relationship with a reputable national service provider.

      If you really prefer to use Macs for pre-configured “appliance” systems, then just do it.

      1. Maybe I was not clear enough in what we want the system to be. We need to place the order for the box and have it ship directly to the customer with the software image already on it, ready to use. Not we purchase today (starting the Apple warranty), stage it in our own space for imagining and ship even within a few days. We don’t want to have to track and manage boxes, we don’t want (can’t afford to as a start up hire someone) to manage inventory or get caught with inventory of a prior model that just dropped in cost (only 14 day price protection is typical).

        “Just doing it” with a platform support risk puts the whole start up at risk just because a couple of “Mac heads” like me keep bringing it up when a Linux hardware box would service the needs exactly.
        I only brought it up because this very situation of wanting enterprise level support nationwide is what keeps Dell /HP viable. We can buy a Dell Linux server (Ubuntu) with 3 years of 4hr response 5 days a week for our customers for about the same price as a similarly configured Mac Mini server that has only a 1 year warranty and not 4 hour response even with AppleCare upgrade. That’s the problem I’d like to see Apple solve. If it cost just a little more to get the protection of 3 year (or upgrade option to 4 or 5 years) on site 4 hour 5 days a week, I think it would be a huge help for Apple in selling Macs into business environments.

    2. Apple has had a long, elaborate, fruitless relationship with Enterprise businesses. The Xserve experiment is a terrific example. Apple tries, the Enterprise ignores them, Apple gives up.

      I am particularly annoyed with Apple’s withdrawn interest in OS X Server. The version of Mountain Lion is crap, thoroughly annoying and frustrating to use as well as remarkably dysfunctional compared to the final decent version, that of OS X 10.4 Tiger. But if there is no demand, there is no supply of Apple attention. Bleh.

      I personally blame the deranged and lazy IT professional culture. They’re stuck in Microsoft crapware. Thus they FAIL and they like it that way. 😛

      1. Apple has not had an elaborate relationship with enterprise customers. Enterprise customers do NOT ignore business opportunities that give them an immediate advantage; nor do they place their business in the hands of a computer maker that “gives up”, offers “dysfunctional” server OSes, and so forth. You’ll never convince a customer to buy your product if you blame the customer for not having the “right culture” or be willing to pay a premium today for some future payoff that, historically, Apple hasn’t CONSISTENTLY offered.

        Apple needs to do better if it wants to have both stable business customers, and with it, wall st. respect. I know you guys don’t want t hear it, but it’s true. Until Apple offers more than consumer gadgets, it will always be marginalized by large customers and investors.

        1. This subject isn’t worth a rant war. There are indeed plenty of practical people in enterprise business. But they are VERY few and far between and they end up having to fight the ignorami who run the company who stick to the conservative approach they have been taught, that being Microsoft.

          I agree that Apple has NOT ‘consistently’ offered enterprise hardware and software. Then again, we have to take into account what Apple is consistently up against. Name one enterprise level application suite that runs on Mac. For example:

          – SAP? – no.
          – PeopleSoft? – no.
          – Oracle? – no.
          – Lotus? – no.

          And so on. Why Apple bothered at all is kind of surprising in and of itself. None of the above software is ever GOING to run on OS X.

          And there are plenty of examples of other impediments.

          Read this history of Apple’s Xserve, linked below. Apple gave it a good long try, starting in 2002! And in the end it didn’t make enough sales to justify itself. So long as of January 2011.

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