Dell going up/down in flames?

Funny how times change. I remember when Dell was regarded as unstoppable. But NYT reports today…

Three days after its announcement of a vast safety recall, Dell reported little but bad news yesterday: profits down by half, and an informal Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its accounting.

Speaking from China to Wall Street analysts in a conference call after the earnings announcement, Michael S. Dell, the company’s founder and chairman, said, “We are not satisfied with our performance, and we will do better.”

While the company has told analysts for more than a year that it will do better, it has not been able to follow through. In a changing market, Dell has been unable to gain traction against competitors as it has in the past, when it has cut prices to gain market share.

The chief executive, Kevin B. Rollins, said yesterday that the company had cut prices “too aggressively” in a number of markets to win market share, which hurt its profitability. “We didn’t do a good job of it,” he said.

Analysts remained frustrated. Harry Blount of Lehman Brothers asked Mr. Rollins, “Why should we believe that your actions will be any better than they have been?”