Good for Dell (maybe)

So Dell going private certainly is big news, yet it seems like there’s less here than meets the eye.

Yes, yes, Apple fans, “shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,” ha ha. But Dell isn’t shutting down—they’re getting out of the public stock market that has left most of us Apple watchers scratching our heads wondering what the hell traders are thinking. Maybe this is an admission of failure in one sense, but in another sense it strikes me as a hell of a smart move. If I ran a company I’d try to avoid taking it public as long as possible. Public companies are expected to increase profits every quarter or face dire punishment, and eventually this all but requires cutting corners—and once you start doing that, it’s all but impossible to stop.

For Dell’s part, cutting corners has been their modus operandi for at least a decade, and the race to the bottom—especially in the consumer PC business—has taken them here. If nothing else, it may be easier for them to get out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into without a bevy of analysts screaming that the only solution is to dig faster.