Michael Dell says his $67 billion EMC deal is NOT the top of the tech bubble

Michael Dell

Jim Edwards

Michael Dell

Dell founder Michael Dell gave a polished fireside chat on the centre stage at Web Summit in Dublin today in front of an audience of several hundred people.

He had answers for every question posed to him by moderator David Rowan of Wired but stumbled only when asked whether Dell's $67 billion acquisition of EMC might not be this decade's equivalent of the $164 billion Time Warner/AOL deal. That 2000 merger was the largest tech deal of its time, and it came to represent the dot com bust, as the partners eventually realised their marriage was too dysfunctional to continue. The companies split apart again in 2009.

Dell was asked, "$67 billion looks like a lot of money. Are you calling the top of the market?"

There was an awkward silence as Dell searched for words.

"Aahhh ... no," he said, as the audience chuckled.

It was a revealing moment in the sense that if, as many suspect, we're living through the peak of the current tech boom right now, the massive scale of the Dell-EMC merger might one day come to look like an example of excess rather than success.

Earlier, Dell said he was not afraid of risk. "I'm not afraid of risk. Risk goes along with innovation. ... inside Dell we have a number of fast-growing units we have created, started up, purchased or incubated, and EMC has a similar model for this."

"You have organic innovation, partnerships and alliances, minority investments in other firms, acquisitions. There is a model where you incubate new business and in many cases leave them alone and let them benefit from the strength the mothership might provide."

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