VMworld Quick Shot: Michael Dell will sell you anything

Michael Dell: salesman, funnyman

Michael Dell: salesman, funnyman

SAN FRANCISCO – A roundtable at this week’s VMworld 2012 conference here provided a rare opportunity: the CEOs of Dell, EMC, NetApp, and VMware (both current and incoming) in a discussion about where the industry’s at and where it’s been.

An even rarer, and somewhat surprising, opportunity: a moment of comedy gold courtesy of Michael Dell himself, and his willingness to sell anything, at any time, to anyone.

To set the stage, incoming VMware chief Pat Gelsinger was describing the accelerating pace of innovation in the industry, particularly noting that pre-assembled “blocks” of virtualization, servers and storage make purchasing infrastructure much easier than it was in years gone by.

“Before, you’d call up Dell to buy some servers,” Gelsinger said, pointing to Dell. “Then, you’d call up Joe [Tucci of EMC],” Gelsinger started, before realizing in his new role, it’s not all EMC all the time, and quickly adding, “… or maybe my new best friend Tom [Georgens, NetApp CEO].”

Dell, without missing a beat, added “We can sell you that storage.”

Gelsinger laughed, and continued, bringing networking into the equation by saying that Cisco CEO John Chambers (partner with VMware and EMC in the VCE movement) would have been on the panel if it weren’t for the company’s sales kickoff event this week.

Another golden opportunity for Dell. “We can do that for you too.”

Gelsinger, smiling broadly, added: “You do it all.”

One more bonus quip from Michael Dell: Faced with a question about the role of Dell in the Post-PC Era, Dell first pointed out his company is about much more than just PCs, but then added that the PC market has grown exponentially since the term Post-PC Era was coined in 1999. “The Post-PC Era has been pretty good for PCs so far,” Dell noted.

Well played, Mr. Dell. Well played.