So among high-tech finance guys these days I guess there is some kind of parlor game going on about what exactly Dell did that the SEC is busting them over. Among the incredibly long list of excruciatingly boring items covered in my meeting with the number geeks this morning, this was one hot tidbit I actually paid attention to. Apparently sometime in 2004 or 2005 Dell started doing something funky when it comes to financing customer purchases, basically doing its own financing instead of relying on outside partners. And they set up some “off balance sheet” entities to absorb the receivables. That phrase in quote marks may ring a bell; it was at the heart of the allegations lodged against another once high-flying Texas company by the name of Enron. Heard of it? I thought so. Our guys swear that if you pore through Dell’s SEC filings like
this one
you can see where the bodies are buried. It’s all Greek to me. And I’m too busy working on the iPhone to frig around with SEC documents. But the guys in this meeting were going on and on about it. Well, time will tell. Of course Michael Dell will use his frigged up eye as an excuse. “Your Honor, I can’t see straight.” See how that one flies.