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The Rise of Dell In 1984 at the age of 19 Michael Dell founded Dell Computer with a simple vision and business concept that personal computers could be built to order and sold directly to customers Michael Dell believed his approach to PC manufacturing had two advantages 1 bypassing distributors and retail dealers eliminated the markups of resellers and 2 building to order greatly reduced the costs and risks associated with carrying large stocks of parts components and finished goods While Dell Computer sometimes struggled during its early years in trying to refine its strategy build an adequate infrastructure and establish market credibility against better-known rivals its build-to-order and sell-direct approach proved appealing to growing numbers of customers in the mid-1990s as global PC sales rose to record levels And just as important the strategy gave the company a substantial cost and profit margin advantage over rivals that manufactured PCs in volume and kept their distributors and retailers stocked with ample inventories Going into 1998 Dell Computer had a 12 percent share of the PC market in the United States trailing only Compaq Computer and IBM which held first and second place in the market respectively Worldwide Dell Computer had nearly a 6 percent market share The company was gaining market share quickly in all of the worlds markets The companys fastest growing market for the past several quarters was Europe Even though Asias economic woes in the first quarter of 1998 resulted in a slight decline in Asian sales of PCs Dells sales in Asia rose 35 percent Dells sales at its Internet Web site was averaging 5 million a day and was expected to reach 15 billion annually by year-end 1998 Since 1990 the companys stock price had exploded from a split-adjusted price of 23 cents per share to 83 per share in May 1998 Dell Computer was the top-performing big company stock
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