HP pounces on news of Dell privacy move

But Dell stays focused

Boxing gloves

Reaction to the announcement that Dell would go private is churning about online, though it didn't take long after the news broke for one longtime rival to swoop in with a stab.

HP issued a 5-sentence statement on the decision of CEO Michael Dell, along with a private equity firm, to buy the company Dell founded for $24.4 billion.

"Dell has a very tough road ahead," the statement read. "The company faces an extended period of uncertainty and transition that will not be good for its customers. And with a significant debt load, Dell's ability to invest in new products and services will be extremely limited.

"Leveraged buyouts tend to leave existing customers and innovation at the curb. We believe Dell's customers will now be eager to explore alternatives, and HP plans to take full advantage of that opportunity."

HP is taking advantage of a move by a competitor with unforeseeable consequences to position itself as an attractive, "stable" alternative, so its statement is no surprise. But still, meow.

Lenovo speaks

Lenovo, which saw an 8 percent growth in PC sales last quarter, also jumped in, sending the following statement to TechRadar:

"While we won't comment on the specifics, we remain as always confident in our strategy, our ability to deliver compelling and innovative products and our overall position and performance," its statement read.

"We believe that the financial actions of some of our traditional competitors will not substantially change our outlook....We always face tough competition, and we are well prepared to continue to win in the PC-plus era by focusing on our own efforts, core strengths and great execution."

As for Microsoft's $2 billion involvement in the deal, Lenovo issued some standalone wording that reiterated its internal focus.

Microsoft, the statement simply read, "will continue to be an important partner for Lenovo." Lenovo makes a number of Windows 8 products, including the ThinkPad Helix and ThinkPad Twist.

The high road

When asked for reaction, a Dell spokesman steered clear of the comments of its competition.

"Dell will continue to deliver the superior solutions, services and experiences that our customers have come to expect," said spokesman David Frink in an email to TechRadar.

"We are committed to completing this transaction as seamlessly as possible such that our customers are not affected in any way.

"Dell has always been focused on delivering the best-in-class customer experience and our top priority is to ensure that customers needs are met.

"We believe this transaction strengthens Dell's capabilities to provide industry-leading, differentiated, simplified and easy-to-manage solutions to customers worldwide, and that they will benefit from our accelerated transformation."

New days

Though Frink didn't get into specifics regarding Dell's strategy moving forward, we have some clues as to what the road ahead at least looks like for the company.

Dell, remember, seems more interested in repositioning itself as an enterprise business, so like sticks and stones, HP and Lenovo's statements may do nothing to harm either its coffers or its ego in the long run.

However, Microsoft threw $2 billion into the privatization proceedings, and that's not just a charitable donation.

As Gary Marshall wrote earlier today, Dell pioneered the PC market by removing the middlemen and allowing consumers to buy directly from the company. However, the model was emulated, and Dell lost the ground it had built.

Now Dell wants to refocus its business towards enterprise without the money-backed mood swings of Wall Street, but Microsoft's loan throws a PC-shaped kink in that plan. Will Redmond force Dell to stick to a market it wants to abandon, perhaps as a way to keep it from partnering with other OS makers?

How Dell maneuvers its new privately owned waters while a shark named Microsoft swims near it, we'll just have to watch unfold.

Its competitors, meanwhile, will be waiting on shore to pick up any scraps.