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Dell Company History Timeline


We’ve achieved a great deal since 1984.

Started in 1984 by then-college student Michael Dell, it rose to become one of the computer giants well into the 21st century.

While a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984, Michael Dell founded the company as PC's Limited with capital of $1000.

Michael Dell, in 1984 founded Dell in order to directly serve their customers with computers that meet their needs.

Dell traces its origins to 1984, when Michael Dell created Dell Computer Corporation, which at the time did business as PC's Limited, while a student of the University of Texas at Austin.


In 1985, the company produced the first computer of its own design — the "Turbo PC", sold for US$795 — which contained an Intel 8088-compatible processor running at a speed of 8 MHz.

In 1985, the company produced the first computer of its own design, the Turbo PC, which sold for $795.


In 1986, Michael Dell brought in Lee Walker, a 51-year-old venture capitalist, as president and chief operating officer, to serve as Dell's mentor and implement Dell's ideas for growing the company.


Also in 1987, the company set up its first operations in Ireland; eleven more international operations followed within the next four years.

The company dropped the PC's Limited name in 1987 to become Dell Computer Corporation and began expanding globally.


In June 1988, Dell's market capitalization grew by $30 million to $80 million from its June 22 initial public offering of 3.5 million shares at $8.50 a share.

In June 1988, Dell's market capitalization grew from $30 million to $80 million from its June 22 initial public offering of 3.5 million shares at $8.50 a share.

The company changed its name to "Dell Computer Corporation" in 1988.

Walker was also instrumental in recruiting members to the board of directors when the company went public in 1988.


In 1989, Dell Computer set up its first on-site-service programs in order to compensate for the lack of local retailers prepared to act as service centers.


In 1990, Dell Computer Corporation tried selling its products indirectly through warehouse clubs and computer superstores, but met with little success, and the company re-focused on its more successful direct-to-consumer sales model.

Walker retired in 1990 due to health, and Michael Dell hired Morton Meyerson, former CEO and president of Electronic Data Systems to transform the company from a fast-growing medium-sized firm into a billion-dollar enterprise.


Less than a decade after Michael Dell sold personal computers from his dorm room, he became the youngest CEO to head a Fortune 500 company, when Dell was first included on the list in 1992.

In 1992, Fortune magazine included Dell Computer Corporation in its list of the world's 500 largest companies.

In 1992, Fortune magazine included Dell Computer Corporation in its list of the world's 500 largest companies, making Michael Dell the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company ever.


In 1993, to complement its own direct sales channel Dell planned to sell PCs at big-box retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, which would have brought in an additional $125 million in annual revenue.


Margins at retail were thin at best and Dell left the reseller channel in 1994.


The company takes sales online in 1996, setting the bar for ecommerce worldwide.

As a pioneer in e-commerce, Dell.com set the bar high when it sold $1 million per day of equipment seven months after its online launch in 1996.

In 1996, Dell began selling computers through its website.


The progress of the business was rapid and in 1997, Dell had shipped its ten millionth system.

In early 1997, Dell created an internal sales and marketing group dedicated to serving the home market and introduced a product line designed especially for individual users.


Dell surpassed Compaq to become the largest PC manufacturer in 1999.


Operating costs made up only 10 percent of Dell's $35 billion in revenue in 2002, compared with 21 percent of revenue at Hewlett-Packard, 25 percent at Gateway, and 46 percent at Cisco.

In 2002, when Compaq merged with Hewlett-Packard (the fourth-place PC maker), the newly combined Hewlett-Packard took the top spot but struggled and Dell soon regained its lead.

In 2002, Dell expanded its product line to include televisions, handhelds, digital audio players, and printers.

Dell's reputation for poor customer service, since 2002, which was exacerbated as it moved call centers offshore and as its growth outstripped its technical support infrastructure, came under increasing scrutiny on the Web.


In 2003, the company was rebranded as simply "Dell Inc." to recognize the company's expansion beyond computers.


In 2004, Michael left his position as CEO of Dell and devoted his time to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.


In 2005, while earnings and sales continued to rise, sales growth slowed considerably, and the company stock lost 25% of its value that year.


A battery recall in August 2006, as a result of a Dell laptop catching fire caused much negative attention for the company though later, Sony was found responsible for the faulty batteries.

By 2006, Dell had spent $100 million in just a few months to improve on this and rolled out DellConnect to answer customer inquiries more quickly.

2006 marked the first year that Dell's growth was slower than the PC industry as a whole.

By the fourth quarter of 2006, Dell lost its title of the largest PC manufacturer to rival Hewlett Packard whose Personal Systems Group was invigorated thanks to a restructuring initiated by their CEO Mark Hurd.

The call-center had opened in 2006 after the city of Ottawa won a bid to host it.

Reuters reported that Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, aided by a $2 billion loan from Microsoft, would acquire the public shares at $13.65 apiece. It is also the largest technology buyout ever, surpassing the 2006 buyout of Freescale Semiconductor for $17.5 billion.


After four out of five quarterly earnings reports were below expectations, Rollins resigned as President and CEO on January 31, 2007, and founder Michael Dell assumed the role of CEO again.

He later returned as CEO of Dell in 2007.

In 2007, Dell.com became the fourth largest United States e-commerce site, with $4.2 billion in sales.

The $24.4 billion buyout was projected to be the largest leveraged buyout backed by private equity since the 2007 financial crisis.


On April 23, 2008, Dell announced the closure of one of its biggest Canadian call-centers in Kanata, Ontario, terminating approximately 1100 employees, with 500 of those redundancies effective on the spot, and with the official closure of the center scheduled for the summer.

As of 2008[update] it held the second spot in computer-sales within the industry behind Hewlett-Packard.


On January 8, 2009, Dell announced the closure of its manufacturing plant in Limerick, Ireland, with the loss of 1,900 jobs and the transfer of production to its plant in Łodź in Poland.


In the shrinking PC industry, Dell continued to lose market share, as it dropped below Lenovo in 2011 to fall to number three in the world.


The growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers instead of PCs drove Dell's consumer segment to an operating loss in Q3 2012.


In May 2013, Dell joined his board in voting for his offer.

Since opening at the end of 2013, over 5,000 children have visited the Centre.


In 2014, Dell was removed from the Fortune 500 list completely when the company was taken private and stopped making official earnings figures available to the public, or to the Fortune 500 list-makers.


In 2016, Dell claims it was the "largest e-commerce website for commercial technology products in the world."


In July 2018, Dell announced intentions to become a publicly traded company again by paying $21.7 billion in both cash and stock to buy back shares from its stake in VMware.


As of August 2019, Dell Technologies had a net value of $23.4 billion.

Company Founded
Round Rock, TX
Company Headquarter
Michael Saul Dell
Company Founders
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Zippia gives an in-depth look into the details of Dell, including salaries, political affiliations, employee data, and more, in order to inform job seekers about Dell. The employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current employments at Dell. The data on this page is also based on data sources collected from public and open data sources on the Internet and other locations, as well as proprietary data we licensed from other companies. Sources of data may include, but are not limited to, the BLS, company filings, estimates based on those filings, H1B filings, and other public and private datasets. While we have made attempts to ensure that the information displayed are correct, Zippia is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. None of the information on this page has been provided or approved by Dell. The data presented on this page does not represent the view of Dell and its employees or that of Zippia.

Dell may also be known as or be related to Dell, Dell Corporation, Dell Corporation LTD, Dell Inc, Dell Inc. and PC's Limited (1984-1987).