Michael Dell is the epitome of the American self-made man. And he has every reason to be proud of how far he has brought his eponymous company.
Year took up current function: 1984
Turnover in 2018: $78.6bn
Growth in 2018: 25.5%
The computer industry empire to which he gave his name is a far cry from the company he founded as a student with just a thousand dollars in his pocket. The Texan, who had not hesitated to order and then completely take apart an Apple II computer to understand how it worked, had a brilliant idea: cut out the middle man. This would become Dell's mantra: sell PCs, assembled exclusively on demand, directly to users. This method saves on inventory management while still offering cutting-edge devices at a lower price than the competition. The success was immediate: Dell’s share price multiplied by 500 between 1996 and 2000.
Since then, the strategy has been simple: grow to gain market share. The days of being a simple PC manufacturer long-gone, Dell now had designs on becoming an integrated computer group. To make this dream a reality, Michael Dell stepped up acquisitions: after Compellent, Ocarina Networks and Credant Technologies, in 2015 he set his sights on ECM, the world leader in data storage. The aim was to balance Dell's turnover, and this has been achieved in a few short years. The Round Rock-headquartered company's revenue is now split roughly evenly between PC sales and cloud activities. The deal, worth $67 billion, is the largest acquisition in the history of the IT industry.