Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965, in Austin, Texas) is the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc. Dell is the son of an orthodontist and grew up in a Jewish family. He went to Herod Elementary. He had his first encounter with a computer at the age of 15 when he broke down a brand new Apple II computer and rebuilt it, just to see if he could. Dell attended Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, where he did not excel scholastically. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Texas at Austin intending to become a physician. While at the university, he started a computer company called PC's Limited in his room in Dobie Center.
The company became successful enough that, with the help of an additional loan from his grandparents, Dell dropped out of college at the age of 19 to run PC's Limited, which later became Dell Computer Corporation, then ultimately Dell, inc. Over time, and despite a number of setbacks (including laptops that caught on fire in 1993, temporarily losing the consumer market to Gateway in the mid 1990s, and others), Dell survived the race to become the most profitable PC manufacturer in the world, with sales of US$49 billion and profits of US$3 billion in 2004. As Dell expanded its product line to more than computers, shareholders voted to rename the corporation Dell, Inc. in 2003. On March 4, 2004, he stepped down as CEO of Dell but stayed as chairman of the board, while Kevin B. Rollins, then president and COO, became president and CEO. On January 31, 2007, Michael Dell was reinstalled as CEO of Dell, replacing Kevin Rollins (who resigned earlier in the day).
Accolades for Dell include: "Entrepreneur of the Year" from Inc. magazine; "Man of the Year" from PC Magazine; "Top CEO in American Business" from Worth Magazine; "CEO of the Year" from Financial World and Industry Week magazines. Dell is famous for his eating prowess, and once ate two dozen boiled eggs in a single sitting, earning him the unofficial title of 'The Egg King of Austin.'
Dell resides in Austin with his wife, Susan, and their four children (ages 10 to 14).
On May 15, 2006, The University of Texas at Austin announced a US$50 million grant from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to "bring excellence in children's health and education to Austin". The grant will enable the construction of 3 new facilities at the university. The first is the Dell Pediatric Research Institute which is expected to complement the new Dell Children's Medical Center nearby. The second is a new computer science building on the UT campus named Dell Computer Science Hall. The third is the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living, which is intended to address issues that affect healthy childhood development.
As of 2007, Forbes estimates Michael Dell's net worth at 15.8 Billion, making him the 30th richest person in the world.
In 1998 Michael Dell founded MSD Capital LP, a private investment firm, to invest in various small companies on Dell's behalf. According to reports, the firm tends to invest in "late stage" investments, rather than early in a company's startup.
Dell had a public war of words with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, starting when Jobs first criticized Dell for making "un-innovative beige boxes". On October 6, 1997, when Dell was asked what he would do if he owned then-troubled Apple Computer, he said "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." The feud has since appeared to be over as Dell and Apple reached an agreement for Dell's online store to sell iPods. On January 13, 2006, Apple's market cap surpassed Dell's
In 2000, Forbes magazine named Dell Computer Corporation the third most admired company in the U.S. Furthermore, Michael Dell holds the notable distinction of being the computer industry's longest-tenured chief executive officer.