Updated Dell today slipped out a regulatory filing in which it withdrew the financial guidance it offered in late February.
That guidance predicted full-year revenues of US$91.8bn to $94.8bn; operating income of $3.4bn to $4bn; and earnings per share of $0.37 to $1.07. By way of comparison, FY 2020 produced $92.2bn sales, full-year operating income of $2.6bn, net income of $5.5bn, and earnings per share of $0.54.
When issuing that guidance [PDF], Dell told investors: "This full year guidance does not factor in any potential COVID-19 impact," adding that it expected "a negative impact on our normal Q1 seasonality driven by softness in China, our second largest market."
Clearly the IT titan's outlook has now changed.
Today's filing has some good news in that Dell said: "The company currently is seeing heightened interest in work from home solutions and continuing execution in its global supply chain, and remains confident in its liquidity position."
That last phrase is important because Dell is carrying over $30bn of debt.
But the whole point of withdrawing previous guidance is to let investors know about possible bad news.
Dell doesn't know how bad things will get, telling investors it is "unable to predict the extent to which the global COVID-19 pandemic may adversely impact its business operations, financial performance and results of operations for the current fiscal year".
More information will be revealed in Dell's Q1 results announcements, due about 60 days from now.
While Dell sells plenty of kit to clouds of nearly all sizes, its meat and potatoes remains kit that's racked and stacked on-premises. And right now there's nobody in most offices to do that racking and stacking, which can't be good for hardware sales.
One thing is certain in Dell's world right now: Michael Dell won't hire anyone dumb enough to have decided to party on despite the march of coronavirus, as he made plain in a tweet from last week... ®
Updated to add
VMware has also pulled its guidance. The company's filing said: "VMware is unable to predict the extent to which the global COVID-19 pandemic may adversely impact its business operations, financial performance and results of operations. As a result of the increased level of uncertainty arising between the earnings announcement and the filing of the Form 10-K, VMware has determined that it is necessary to withdraw its previously issued financial guidance."