Earlier this week, Dell hosted a group of thirteen reporters who represented several countries in Asia for two days at Dell's campus in Round Rock, Texas. During their time here, these reporters met with several Dell executives to discuss Dell's 5 key growth areas in more detail. This event culminated in a group discussion with Michael Dell.I wanted to take some time to recap that discussion.
One of the things Michael talked about was growth in Asia Pacific and Japan, but also other places outside the U.S. He made the point that Q1 was the first time in Dell's history that revenue from outside the United States surpassed revenue from the U.S. He also reiterated that global growth was led by Brazil, Russia, India and China where Dell saw a 73% year-over-year increase in terms of unit shipments. Dell grew 2x faster than the Lenovo in China and 6x HP in India. Because of that strong global growth outside the U.S., Michael said that we will continue to invest heavily in countries like China, India and other emerging markets to facilitate continued growth.
Michael also said that retail in the global consumer space is a huge opportunity moving forward—Dell currently offers products in 13,000 retail locations. The channel is another big growth opportunity: Dell currently has about 16,000 channel partners and that business is currently at a $12B run rate.
When asked what type products from Dell would serve the next billion people coming online, Michael made the point that these new users don't think in terms of the type of the device they will use—instead, they think about connecting to the Internet. We're focused on developing products in emerging countries like the Dell 500 laptop for China and India and beyond and the upcoming mini laptop. He also said that more products coming in the second half of the year.
When Michael was asked about the mobile phone space, he suggested that would be a better question for next year. Before then, Dell will focus on big growth opportunities like consumer and commercial laptop and desktop sales—both through retail and the channel. He also mentioned that there's opportunity for a range of smaller devices between 9-inch ones like the upcoming mini notebook, and smaller ones.
From a technology perspective, Michael was asked about progress in input devices. The multitouch functionality that Windows 7 will bring is good for some activities, though it will enhance what we're already used to with keyboard and mouse, instead of replacing them. Same goes for voice recognition.
And speaking of Windows 7, when asked if many corporate customers will wait for it before upgrading from Windows XP, Michael made the point that it's hard to say with certainty since there are lots of variables. Still, things like the recent availability of Vista SP1, the major progress that has been made with Vista driver compatibility and because Windows 7 will be based on the Vista driver framework, it seems like more companies will upgrade to Vista before Windows 7 comes out.