That’s not IBM. That’s not HP. That’s Dell.
But you’ll notice the trend. Everyone is getting out of the PC business because it’s a shitty business to be in.
IBM was way ahead of the curve (and is reaping the rewards as a result). While seemingly insane at the time, HP had the right idea last year (then backtracked and got burned last quarter). Now Dell.
You often hear the argument that Apple will eventually be squeezed in their high-margin hardware businesses. That cheaper components will drive costs down and cheap products will win. But that “win” comes with an asterisk. It’s a short-lived win. Eventually, it will turn to a loss both figuratively and literally.
One of Apple’s strengths is the quality of their products, which allows for better margins. But their real strength is staying ahead of trends. By the time Apple dropped “Computer” from their name in 2007, they were already a different company.
They still make computers, but they have long since become a secondary business massively trumped by other businesses (first the iPod, then the iPhone, now the iPad).
Dell has lacked such foresight. Maybe it’s too late now, or maybe not. But I like John Gruber’s suggestion.
Update: As Jack Schofield points out, Dell also dropped “Computer” from their name in 2003. The difference is that when Apple did it, they were actually becoming a different company. Dell was doing the same old — which is why they had to make that statement today, nearly a decade later — though they were thinking about getting into printers. Which is funny for an entirely different reason.