As you may recall, company founder Michael Dell reacted rather definitively on CNBC’s Business Center to Apple’s announcement of retail stores back in 2001:
“No, you know, we figured out 10 or 15 years ago that you don’t need stores to sell computers,…We have stores; we call them online stores. Dell.com will generate close to US$20 billion in revenue for us this year. We think the best computer store in the world actually is at dell.com. Physical stores have been tried by a number of our competitors, and generally, actually I would say universally, that strategy hasn’t panned out.”
Of course, Apple stores have become the fastest retail operation to reach $1 billion annual sales in history, with per-square profit nearly 70% higher than Tiffany & Co stores.
Last week, when Michael Dell and his lieutenants introduced “Dell 2.0” to the press in San Francisco, they were again asked about Apple:
“Apple has become the conformist company,” said [Dell chief marketing officer Mark] Jarvis, arguing that it’s now become so established as to demand an opposite. “I want Dell to be the different company,” Jarvis said, and when asked for the how, replied: “Watch this space.”
This appears to be an interesting brand repositioning. First label your competition inadequate and misguided, then try to emulate it by letting catwalk models introduce laptops with gaudy veneers at Macy’s, and finally ask everyone to “think different” by imagining Dell as the cool, new anti-Apple. And simultaneously seek salvage at Wal-Mart shelves with under-$700 PC boxes.
On Sep 26, 2007, Dell had a market cap of $63.56 billion. Apple’s market cap was $132.85 billion, on fraction of Dell’s sales and revenue.
UPDATE: In October, AAPL gained 17.55% to reach $161.12 billion, DELL only 1.91% to reach $64.80.
Could this be the reason?