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Michael Dell on His ‘I’d Shut Down Apple’ Quote

Alexia Tsotsis asked Michael Dell if he regretted his ‘I’d shut down Apple’ quote during a Q&A at the Web 2.0 Summit today.
In 1997, at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo97, the CEO of Dell Computer offered his solution to Apple’s problems. “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,” Michael Dell said. At that time Apple was trading at $17 a share. It’s now trading at around $420.
TechCrunch reports that Dell thought today was a “great opportunity” to clarify what he had said indicating that his previous “answer was misconstrued.”
Dell said he originally refused to answer the question but after being pressed he responded “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,” because he couldn’t imagine himself being CEO of any other company.
“The meaning of my answer was that I’m the CEO of Dell, I don’t think about being the CEO of any other company, I’m not a CEO for hire, so if you asked me what I’d do for any other company, it’s not really something I think about.”
“I have tremendous respect for Apple. Obviously Steve will be missed and was a friend.”
When asked if he would have given a different answer about another company, Dell replied, “I am Michael Dell founder of Dell [and would ask] ‘Why don’t you give me another question?’.”
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