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Business Management

Dell's new branding hides the mother of all complex mergers

I was once asked to tune in to a webcast of the unveiling of the new brand created to mark Sony working with Ericsson in a joint venture to make mobile phones. It’s fair to say that the resulting cocktail soubriquet of Sony Ericsson was underwhelming.

At EMC World yesterday, Michael Dell revealed the new branding for the coming together of planets that is the Dell-EMC merger. Resisting the temptation to use some dramatic nomenclature (Project Frankenstein? Run DMC?) the founder of the original Dell Computer played it safe.

So, the merged parent company will be Dell Technologies, the enterprise business will be called Dell EMC and the client services business will just be called Dell. But any attempts at corralling the many businesses that are attached or semi-detached to the mothership will be the branding equivalent of herding cats. EMC’s policy of creating a federation of business units already made it the United Nations of business technology and Dell appears to be heading the same zigzagging way with its disposal of the Perot Systems, its IPO of the SecureWorks business and so on.

Whither VMware, majority owned by EMC but quasi-autonomous with its own stock ticker? And wherefore VirtuStream, acquired not long ago but now caught up in the frothing oceans surrounding this new supertanker? And what of VCE, a company that has the complicated incomings and outgoings that once characterised 19th-century novels or modern TV soap operas?

Understanding the structure of the emerging company appears to require at the very least a working knowledge of Keynesian economics, particle physics and fluent conversational Swahili. But Michael Dell won’t care too much if he can successfully cloak the underlying complexity to produce the largest IT all-rounder in history and execute on a remarkably bold strategy to take organisations through the next industrial revolution via an extraordinarily rich array of assets. And as a private company he will be very happy indeed not to have to explain the working parts of the company to Wall Street analysts.  

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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