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Michael Dell helped launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with the creation of the Dell Computer Corporation, now known as Dell Inc.
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Together, the Dells have shown a willingness to spread their wealth. In 1999, the couple started the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a large private charity that has doled out millions to causes and people like the tsunami victims in southern Asia. In 2006, the foundation donated $50 million to the University of Texas.
"A bunch of guys sitting around trying to decide what we want to have done with our money after we're dead, that's not a very good idea," he once said,
expaling his early entry into philanthropy. "Forget all that. We're going to do this while we're still here and get it right."
In 2004 Dell stepped down as CEO of the company, but he remained chairman of the board. He served on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and the executive committee of the International Business Council. He also was on the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and sat on the governing board of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
In recent years, however, not everything has gone right for Michael Dell or his company. Poorly built computers resulted in the company taking a $300 million charge to fix the faulty machines, a huge issue for the company that resulted in Dell losing its top perch atop the industry. In an effort to correct things, Dell returned in 2007 as CEO, but the results have been mixed.
Poor products continued to plague the company, and despite Dell Computer's efforts to play down the issue, documents later revealed that employees were well aware of the issues affecting millions of its computers.
In July 2010, Michael Dell made headlines when he agreed to pay more than $100 million in penalties in order to settle charges of accounting fraud that had been filed by the Security and Exchange Commission. According to the charges, Dell Computer inflated its earning statements by counting rebates from the chip maker Intel that were issued to Dell to encourage the company not to use chips from Advanced Micro Devices in its computers and servers. By padding its statements, investigators claimed, Dell Computer had misled investors about its actual earnings.
In a move to help rebuild the company he founded, Dell announced in February 2013 that he would be taking his business private again. He reached an agreement with Silver Lake Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in technology, and computer software giant Microsoft to launch a buyout of all outstanding shares of Dell. This deal has been valued between $23 billion to more than $24 billion, making it one of the biggest buyouts in recent history.
According a Reuters news report, Michael Dell believes "this transaction will open an exciting new chapter for Dell, our customers and team members." Many analysts share some of Dell's enthusiasm, but still think the company is facing serious challenges. Dell has seen its share of the PC market drop in recent years as well as increased competition from tablet and smartphone makers.
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