Microsoft buys Dell: the truth
Okay, I will come clean - the piece about Microsoft buying Dell is an April Fool piece. Slightly in advance it's true, but that's because the column was automatically taken from the issue of PC Pro that's out now (see left), and it's that issue that will be out on sale on the 1st of April!
To be crystal clear - I have no knowledge of Microsoft intending to buy Dell, or Krispie Kreme doughnuts or NASA either.
PC Pro has a long and honourable tradition of doing April Fool pieces. Remember David Moss's epic "The Ten Pillars of Microsoft" spoof? Or Windows For Trainsets?
The response has been truly amazing. I have had emails from senior people at Dell and Microsoft, asking who my source was. Clearly they believed Something Big was going on, and that they were not party to it. I have had emails from the IT teams at large corporations telling me that they are HP houses and now they will have to give serious consideration to shifting over to Dell.
I thought I'd given a big enough clue in the first paragraph, but it seems that many skipped over that and dived into the story. It appears that some readers have panicked at the contents, and if this caused them distress or upset, then I sincerely apologise.
The heart and soul of a good April Fool is that it is credible. That it could almost be true. In the current climate, there is much sense in the view that Microsoft plus Dell would be formidable. And would raise the quality bar still further. There is no question that one of the major strengths of the Apple platform is the tight integration of hardware and software - "it just works".
Microsoft has been making hardware for years, albeit at the keyboard and mouse level. But the new Surface platform is apparantly entirely Microsoft-alone, and some Softies have expressed the view that this is a step in the right direction for the company.
Given that Microsoft has the money still in the bank that it didn't spend on Yahoo, and due to the global recession is facing either a stagnation or even downturn in its turnover, it is entirely possible that the board of Microsoft might consider doing something radical to move the company forward, and to try to finally push the share price upwards.
This was the background for the thinking behind the piece. A great big "What if?" that leant itself immediately to a spoof.
And who knows - sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe this will actually come to pass.
I hope you enjoyed it. I am still somewhat stunned at the reaction it has created. And if you have any suggestions for next year, feel free to let me know.