Dell's Profits Plunge 79 Percent as PC Maker Mulls Its Future

Paul Lilly

Dude, who's getting Dell?

Dell's future is as uncertain as it's ever been, and not just because the PC market is in a slump as consumers flock to mobile devices. The other major unknown is whether Dell will ultimately accept Michael Dell's proposed $24.4 billion buyout offer and go private, or if the board will be swayed by Carl Icahn's alternate deal that would keep the company public. As all this unfolds, Dell (the company) is seeing its profits get sucked into a vortex of uncertainty.

The PC maker reported revenue of $14.1 billion for its fiscal 2013 first quarter, down 2 percent from the previous year. What's even more alarming, however, is that its profits are down 79 percent to $130 million. In the same quarter a year ago, Dell's profits totaled $635 million.

As expected, Dell put on its positive face when announcing the results.

"We made progress in building our enterprise solutions capabilities in the first quarter and are confident in our strategy to be the leading provider of end-to-end scalable solutions," said Brian Gladden , Dell chief financial officer. "In addition, we have taken actions to improve our competitive position in key areas of the business, especially in end-user computing, and it has affected profitability. We’ll also continue to make important investments to support our strategy and drive long-term profitability."

The world's No. 3 PC maker saw its end-user computer sales slide 9 percent to $8.9 billion. Dell's Enterprise division picked up some of the slack with revenue climbing 10 percent to $3.1 billion. Dell Services also saw some growth, increasing 2 percent to $2.1 billion.

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