Dell traces its origins to 1984, when Michael Dell created PC’s Limited while a student of the University of Texas at Austin. The dorm-room headquartered company soldIBM PC-compatible computers built from stock components. Dell dropped out of school to focus full-time on his fledgling business, after getting about $300,000 in expansion-capital from his family. In 1985, the company produced the first computer of its own design, the Turbo PC, which sold for $795. PC’s Limited advertised its systems in national computer magazines for sale directly to consumers and custom assembled each ordered unit according to a selection of options. The company grossedmore than $73 million in its first year of operation.
In 1986, Michael Dell brought in Lee Walker, a 51-year-old venture capitalist, as president and chief operating officer, to serve as Michael’s mentor and implement Michael’s ideas for growing the company. Walker was also instrumental in recruiting members to the board of directors when the company went public in 1988. Walker retired in 1990 due to health, and Michael Dell hired Morton Meyerson, former CEO and president of Electronic Data Systems to transform the company from a fast-growing medium-sized firm into a billion-dollar enterprise.
The company changed its name to Dell Computer Corporation in 1988 and began expanding globally. In June 1988, Dell’s market capitalization grew by $30 million to $80 million from its June 22 initial public offering of 3.5 million shares at $8.50 a share. In 1992,Fortune magazine included Dell Computer Corporation in its list of the world’s 500 largest companies, making Michael Dell the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company ever.
In 1993, to complement its own direct sales channel, Dell planned to sell PCs at big-box retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, which would have brought in an additional $125 million in annual revenue. However, Bain consultant Kevin Rollins persuaded Michael Dell to pull out of these deals, believing they would be money losers in the long run. Indeed, margins at retail were thin at best and Dell left the reseller channel in 1994. Rollins would soon join Dell full-time and eventually become the company President and CEO.
Summary: Dell Inc. is an American privately owned multinational computer technology company based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells, repairs and supports computers and related products and services.