04.08.05-1 MICHAEL DELL, KEVIN ROLLINS AND STRATEGY VS. EXECUTION

Lately Dell and his lieutenants have been on a bragging crusade as evidenced by Steven Levy's 02.21.05 column in Newsweek titled "Steamrollered by the Dell Machine". Don't get me wrong, I think it's fine to celebrate success and even taunt the competition now and then. But you should never, ever tempt fate. Which is what the boys at Dell seem to be doing.

Dell and Rollins are advocating the importance of execution competencies as compared to strategy and innovation competencies. Levy writes:

"Dell finds it hilarious that companies like IBM, HP and Sony fund researchers to come up with ideas that break the mold. PC's have reached a period of standardization. They aren't the glamerous gizmos they were in the industry's early days."

Levy posed the obvious question to Dell spokesman T.R. Reid, which was how do you explain the fact that Apple had proven you could innovate and thrive? T.R's response:

"Is it innovation if no one buys it?"

T.R's point being that at 5% share, Apple doesn't count. My point is that if both Dell and Jobs keep their current jobs running their respective empires for the next 10 years, who would you bet on to still be here? Dell? Jobs? Will innovation win the day? Or execution?