Dell puts his foot in it with Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has issued a stinging public rebuke to Michael Dell, after the computer magnate offered to help Russia’s IT industry.

The pair shared the stage at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland. But the mood turned colder than the Swiss Alps when Dell asked the Russian president “how can we as an IT sector help you broaden the economy as you move out of a crisis and take advantage of that great scientific talent that you have?”

A disgruntled looking Putin paused for thought for a few seconds before replying: “We don’t need any help. We are not invalids. We do not have limited capacity. People with limited capacity should be helped. Pensioners should be helped. Developing countries should be helped.”

Putin went on to lecture Dell about the harm of “rich nations” simply pumping money into developing nations, before explaining how villages in Siberia are already connected to the internet. “Every Russian school has computer rooms and internet access,” the Russian President insisted.

“It is with great pleasure we will accept, as we have done before, investments into this sector. And we will continue developing our own products and presenting them to the global markets,” Putin added.

He then went on to deliver a subtle swipe at Dell’s hardware business, highlighting Russia’s strength in software development and intellectual property. “Our programmers are one of the best in the world, no doubt about it. And no-one would contest it here. Even our Indian colleagues,” he concluded, to much laughter in the audience.

Diligent camera work prevents us from seeing whether Mr Dell found it funny too.

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