Michael Dell, whose company was last year slapped with a $100 million dollar fine after being investigated for fraud in the USA, spent yesterday cuddling up to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Health Minister Nicola Roxon, in an effort to win new business out of the Australian Federal Government.
Dell, whose minders kept him well away from most IT journalists following his massive fine by the SEC, had been involved in five years of litigation with the IT company, relating to a fraud case involving both Dell and its Chairman Michael Dell.
The SEC alleged the company failed to disclose its relationship with Intel Corporation, who was providing hundreds of millions in illegal payments to Dell in exchange for the IT Company exclusively using Intel microprocessors in Dell products.
The issue was that the payments that were made by Intel over several fiscal quarters distorted the true operational earnings of Dell and that Michael Dell mislead investors into believing that the company was more profitable than it really was.
Michael Dell, the company founder and current chief executive, agreed to personally pay a $4-million as part of the total settlement.
Unlike previous visits where MD, as he is sometimes called, has held court at venues like the Sydney Hyatt, this time only two members of the press seem to have been permitted to interview the Great Man: Fran Foo from The Australian and Brian Corrigan from the Financial Review.
Neither was able to draw much headline news from Dell, though he did tell both journos the company had plans build a datacentre in Australia.
He did not reveal any details like timing, size, location, price or likely partners, though he did say it would be one of 10 around the globe and made it plain it wouldn’t offer public cloud computing.
Customers, quoth MD, “don’t really want a public cloud … what they want is a private, secure cloud that has a level of assurance and security with it.” He said further details would be announced in coming months.
In Canberra he had a brief meeting with PM Julia Gillard and Health Minister Nicola Roxon: the latter possibly the real target of the visit, given subsidiary Perot Systems’ – now renamed Dell Services – interest in e-health systems.