Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell just announced that the company will be launching a $60 million fund to invest in storage startups.
Dell noted that big data is a hot category right now, and he said it’s been a “huge area” for his company too. At the same time, he said there’s an “enormous opportunity” for new companies — as he elaborated, he focused less on pure storage, and instead on helping companies (especially those with less than 10,000 people) accessing and using in real-time “the huge quantities of data” that they’re already storing.
“The storage world is really getting shaken up a tremendous amount,” Dell said, pointing to technologies like flash memory. He said the goal of the fund is to “get out in front” of these new technologies.
He was speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, where he also outlined what he described as the transformation of Dell for the last five years. The company is best-known as a maker of PCs, and desktops and laptops still account for the majority of its revenue, but Dell said the company made a “concerted shift” into enterprise solutions like security, data centers, cloud, and services. That means it’s sometimes competing with consumer electronics companies, but also offering complementary services at other times — for example, the iPhone is the “engine” of Apple’s business, and instead of competing with the iPhone, Dell (the company) is “securing iPhones, managing iPhones.”
At the same time, Dell (the person) suggested that all this talk of a “post-PC world” may be a little exaggerated. He said the term was first coined in the late ’90s, when people were buying 100 million PCs per year. Now that number is up to 380 million, so Dell said, “Apparently the Post-PC age has been pretty good for the PC.”