Michael Saul Dell was born to an orthodontist father and a mother that worked as a money manager. Dell was interested in computers from a very young age and was already pulling them apart at the age of 15. He attended the University of Texas with hopes of becoming a doctor but abandoned studies to start his own business at just 19 years of age.
With just one thousand dollars in his pocket Dell started "PC's Limited" in 1984. From his university dorm room Dell started building and selling personal computers from stock computer parts. The idea that set the young entrepreneur apart from others was to sell directly to the customer, rather than going through a third party to sell his products.
PC's Limited allowed the customer to customize their computer before it was custom built to their specifications. The prices could also be kept much lower than PC's Limited's competition as they had no stores to maintain or middlemen to pay commissions to. All computers were sold direct to the customer with the use of order forms, phone orders, and now Internet orders.
In 1988 PC's Limited had a name change to "Dell Computer Corporation" and had an initial public offering (IPO) that valued the company at roughly $80 million. By 1992 Dell Computer Corporation was listed on the Fortune 500 list of the five hundred largest companies in the world, making Michael Dell the youngest ever CEO to head a Fortune 500 company.
The company continued to grow and expand dramatically year after year, eventually selling more computers in the United States of America than any other PC company (including Compaq).
"Dell Computer Corporation" became "Dell Inc." as they moved into other areas of business. Dell Inc. now has an expanding product range that includes home entertainment systems and personal devices.
On March 4, 2004, Dell stepped down as CEO, but stayed as chairman of Dell Inc.'s board, while Kevin Rollins, then president and COO, became president and CEO. On January 31, 2007, Dell returned as CEO at the request of the board, succeeding Rollins.
Michael Dell uses some of his great wealth for philanthropic activities and has started the "Michael and Susan Dell Foundation" with his wife Susan. The organization is committed to improving the lives of children in the United States of America and internationally.