I don't see the connection

Story: Michael Dell Puts His Own Money in Red Hat - Does Dell Have a Linux Desktop Plan?Total Replies: 14
Author Content

May 09, 2005
12:32 PM EDT
Michael Dell invested a small fraction of his portfolio funds into a stock that was in the middle of a dramatic rise way back in January. (An investment which is now worth less than half what he payed for it, and which represents only a 2% stake in Redhat, BTW.) What in the world gets us from there to "Dell just might have this grand plan to take the education market from Apple by pushing Linux on Intel"? I don't get it.

May 09, 2005
12:55 PM EDT
Sometimes people just don't get things. That doesn't mean you're a bad person. Just egregeous and indignant in your own point of view.

Dell targeted the education market and now has a larger percent than Apple. They have targeted governments and are moving in on traditional UNIX applications by porting them over to Red Hat. Linux - globally - has become the OS of choice in education and government. It seems that his relationship with Red Hat has proven advantageous.

People have wondered for over a year and a half why Dell got in bed with Red Hat and Oracle when they did. You don't think that helping to fund that development privately made sense? Regardless of the current value of the stock, Michael's stake in Dell (NASDAQ) has increased significantly since the partnership with Red Hat.

And what about his consumer line of products don't you understand?

May 09, 2005
1:25 PM EDT
> Sometimes people just don't get things. That doesn't mean you're a bad person. Just egregeous and indignant in your own point of view.

Guess I accidentally hit a nerve, since you feel the need to start your post with a personal attack.

What I don't understand is how you think that this old, and not particularly notable investment by Michael Dell personally (at a time that RHAT's stock advances were getting a lot of press) , translates into all this wild speculation on your part. If one of Tim O'Reilly's investments happened to be in a pharmaceutical company, does that mean he's getting ready to take over the Medical text book industry?

Sincere appologies for disagreeing with you. Very rude of me, I know.

May 09, 2005
2:37 PM EDT
I didn't consider it a personal attack, but then you knew that already.

Michael's money isn't in a blind trust - and I doubt Tim's is either.

100 mil may not be significant to Michael but it's material to Red Hat. IBM thought SuSE was important enough to save in 2002 and put $48 million into it to keep it afloat from its strategic investment funds. To my knowledge, Dell doesn't have staregic investment funds.

The 100 mil was part of an effort at the time to put $1 billion into Red Hat to keep it viable.

My job requires me to know what vendors do with regard to open source. Michael's investment was strategic to Dell's server business because of the vendor relationship. This isn't his kid's trust money.

I don't know but I have to guess that you haven't been involved in strategic investments from a vendor's point of view. That's about the only thing I can reasonably figure given your stance. Michael's investment company isn't passive.


May 09, 2005
4:37 PM EDT
> I didn't consider it a personal attack, but then you knew that already.

Sorry if I misinterpretted your tone. It's just that when someone says to me that I am "Just egregeous and indignant in your own point of view." I tend to take that in a negative way, despite the fact that the phrase makes no grammatical sense, and despite the fact that I have to make the assumption that by "egregeous" you really mean "egregious". My mistake. Perhaps your native language is not English. I appologize, then.

I guess I missed the period in January 2004, in which RedHat needed $1 billion to remain viable. I think there was a weekend in there that I forgot to tune into lxer.com. Again, my mistake.

Good luck staying on top of the game with respect to knowing all the ins and outs of the corporate "cloak and dagger" game. Sounds like an exciting life.

My opinion about your editorial is unchanged, however.

Sincerely, Steve Bergman

May 10, 2005
3:20 AM EDT
Steve, Tom,

You are both wrong. My opinion is right.

I just know it.


PS: No, I can't remember what I was thinking... I just know my version was the "right" one :-)

May 10, 2005
4:05 AM EDT
Stupid question, but if M.Dell has 2% of the shares, he is allowed to vote on the shareholders' meetings, isn't it? 2% isn't much but it isn't too little either. By that, I mean the Red-Hat managment has to listen to M. Dell if he says something, or asks for something. So, in my opinion, Tom may be right, but Steve may be right as well.

O, and about Paul: no need to listen to him, one can't trust a person that can't remember what he was thinking, since this probably shows he wasn't thinking at all.

May 10, 2005
4:24 AM EDT
hkwint: Yes, I was. I'm sure of it.


Wheres, Dino when you need him?

May 10, 2005
5:29 AM EDT
"Tom may be right, but Steve may be right as well."

Yes. It looks like they're both right.


May 10, 2005
5:49 AM EDT
This is a humorous thread and deserves further consideration. I used to say:

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Attributed to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act II, Scene 2

Or so most of us believe this to be the case. But the passage actually reads:

Why, then ‘tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

In some management circles, executives look for indications of who can produce positive results in an organization. One will find it comon among executive teams to play a little game called - he who speaks first loses. What we listen for are three basic approaches apparent in the manner in which one voices an opinion. 1. people who make nothing of things; 2. people who make less of things; 3. people who make more of things.

So, someone making nothing of things continually, tends to lose the confidence of the team. Make nothing of a thing and it will make nothing of you - is the corrolate .

Think about it.


May 10, 2005
8:44 AM EDT
Tom: I do think about it.

What you're witnessing at times in the LXer.com talkbacks that I produce often are one of two things:

1) inspired commentary.

2) An attempt at reduction of amplitude by being a clown.

This was a number 2.

(Leaving this wide open for you. Please don't let me down)

Rarely do I not think when I open my mouth, although casual observers may make that mistake, those observers have been known to be somewhat surprised at a later date and time to find that yes, indeed, I was actually thinking at the time...


May 10, 2005
9:47 AM EDT
Well, for my part I appologize to Tom for getting a bit snippy earlier in the thread. Actually, I don't really disagree that Dell might have a Linux Desktop strategy wrt the the education market. I'd be very happy if they did, but I'm not holding my breath. I guess what I am saying is that there are better reasons to think they might do this than Michael Dell's investment. So I think that we would find that we agree more than we disagree once we get past that point. If nothing else, I'm sure we can both agree that Paul is wrong. BTW, where *is* Dean, anyway? I would have expected him to have joined the feeding frenzy by now.

May 10, 2005
10:19 AM EDT

Sorry that I was distracted by little things to work.

Shame on all of you!!

By now, you should know that nobody has the right answer until I have chimed in.

Got it?


2% is a substantial stake. Remember that it only takes 4% to make SEC reporting rules kick in.

As to $100 million being nothing to Michael Dell, I will remember one thing I was told on purchases in my Ross Perot days at EDS: "You want to spend a million dollars to make money? Great. You want to spend a thousand dollars to lose money? Forget it."

Dell will put his/its money where it can make money. That may even mean something as subtle as maintaining an leverage in its relationship with Microsoft.

Those who think Dell is in bed with Microsoft are right. But what does that mean? It means Dell makes a lot of money and Microsoft is part of that strategy. If Microsoft becomes a liability, Dell will bounce out of bed.

At this point, Microsoft needs Dell at least as much as Dell needs Microsoft.


May 10, 2005
4:43 PM EDT
Paul - you're the only person I know that can bring levity and reduce the amplitude (nice word - BTW) without offending. When I'm posting an article on Lxer.com or about Dave on another news site - it's because of the interaction and good vibes here. The comments on the other sites that pay me to write are often too mean for my liking - I know it comes with the territory.

When I post something here, I will have some insight into a situation - because in the final analysis, a source provided me information. It doesn't take that long to build a network and that's what journalists do if they want to make a living.

In this case, the sources were some of the Dell people making the Linux investments in Linux companies. It's no secret that Dell wet after the education market - cleverly. Whatever discount a school gets for buying from Dell is passed to the students for their personal purchases (same with big companies like Ericsson).

Dell will sell below cost to schools to get the business. They will not be outbid, period. Dell, like Sun also knows that schools have moved to Linux in a big way. So, with the consumer products Dell sells (and they do have more markup than the computers), it makes sense to provide the drivers to Red Hat.

And, then a decision on the Red Hat desktop is in the making and I have a source here and there on that. But, if I start quoting people, then the sources dry up.

Dell hedged their bet on Microsoft back during the "break-up" trial. That's when they got very interested in Linux. Suddenly Red Hat had Dell's drivers for the poweredge server storage arrays and their video cards and NICs. That was a significant move.

In their offices, we discussed what would happen if the Justice Department broke up Microsoft. The Dell guys speculated that the Microsoft Office people would port everything to anything and start to compete seriously with the Operating System people. So, Dell hedged their bet.

So, what I do is listen and make some deductions, run things by some people, make an assertion or two and write about it. The juicer stuff makes its way to Lxer.com. You won't see my undercover work anywhere else.

Microsoft has serious and well deserved concerns about the future of both Windows and Office and OEM's know it. How many companies in the history of the world started suing their customers if they didn't buy new versions of their products? I can understand a customer or two in the course of a couple of years for accounts receivables - not for refusing to buy the newest version of a product, right here, right now, damnit!

But, Microsoft started advertising for employees to turn their companies in for piracy and then they sued those customers. You have some pretty angry people out their looking for alternatives.

So, no apologies or explanations or reasons, excuses, justifications are necessary. I've been writing for twenty years and I think I've seen everything including people accusing me of being a NAZI (more than once).

One thing I would add (finally) is a thank you to Paul and an invitation to everyone to have a Guinness.


May 11, 2005
6:21 AM EDT
Tom: you missed a golden opportunity to point out that my response definitely looked like a number 2... Maybe you did this on purpose :)

Anyway, I'll take that beer sometime. In the mean time, I'll look forward to reading more from you.


Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!