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9/12/2006
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Dell Expects Nasdaq To Begin Delisting Process

Michael Dell's comments about the possible delisting--made during Dell's Tuesday press conference--came just moments after the company announced it would extend its alliance with storage vendor EMC for another five years.

Dell Chairman Michael Dell said Tuesday he expects the Nasdaq stock exchange to begin delisting proceedings against the company, which on Monday announced that it would delay filing its 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission because of investigations into its corporate finances.

Dell made the remarks at the computer hardware giant's Tech Day event in New York. His comments about the possible delisting came just moments after the company announced it would extend its alliance with storage vendor EMC for another five years, and after Dell CEO Kevin Rollins laid out the company's broad plan to transform the company from "Dell 1.0" to "Dell 2.0."

Dell also gave a generally positive, though rambling, response to a reporter's question about whether Rollins would be replaced as CEO.

"I believe Kevin Rollins is an outstanding executive," Dell said. "Characterizations of the company's challenges being only of Kevin's doing are inaccurate. Kevin and I run the business together. If you want to blame somebody, you can blame me, too. We believe we have a very strong team at the company. Our company will continue to grow and prosper and do well."

Dell also repeated his remarks from a day earlier, when the company said it would postpone its 10-Q filing and announced that a new investigation had been launched by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation, and there really is not a whole lot more to comment on beyond what was in the [press] release," Dell said in response to another reporter's question. Asked about the potential of Nasdaq to delist Dell, which is No. 25 on the Fortune 500, Dell said he expected some action to begin.

"We would expect that would occur, and we would go through the process with Nasdaq. There is a 180-day cycle that occurs," Dell said. "We fully expect to get this issue resolved."

Dell's Tech Day, for hand-picked members of the press, came at an awkward moment for the Round Rock, Texas-based company and its executives. Dell also was scheduled to host an Analyst Day for financial analysts tomorrow but cancelled the event when it announced the new investigation and delayed 10-Q.

Tech Day also came as Dell works to complete a massive, 4.1 million-unit battery recall for its notebook PCs and salve investor complaints after a series of disappointing financial performances over the past year.

Key to the Tech Day presentation was Rollins' announcement that EMC will extend its current five-year alliance to develop and produce of storage products for Dell. A smiling EMC CEO Joe Tucci joined Rollins on stage and proclaimed his company's relationship with the direct PC vendor a stellar success to date.

"It's hard to believe it's been five years," Tucci said. "Five years seems to have gone like that," he said, snapping his fingers.

"Partnerships in any aspect of life take a lot of work," Tucci said. "It's several things [with EMC and Dell]. Our engineering teams work together to define products. What pricing characteristics do we want? We segment the market. A lot of our effort goes into our go-to-market side, where we surround our customers in sales and service organizations. I have to give a lot of credit to Kevin [Rollins]."

During his presentation, Rollins spelled out plans for moving Dell into its next generation as a company. A pillar of Dell's strategy will be less reliance on performance and cost and a sharper focus on industrial design and usability, he noted. Dell also will parse the number of component suppliers it uses for production of notebooks, desktops, servers and other hardware.

"We're evaluating a full range of supplier-partner relationship models," Rollins said. "Our own development opportunities probably add a little less value on certain low-end PCs and servers, so we're open to a new, open, holistic model."

Dell has cut its "approved vendor list" by 50 percent in key components, enabling better-quality providers to emerge in the industry, he said.

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