Bengaluru: Two years into taking Dell Inc. private, Michael Dell insists it was the right decision.

Dell, the 50-year-old founder-chairman and chief executive of the company that bears his name, said he now has more time to work closely with his customers and employees, and that is showing up in the amount of innovation at the US company.

“I haven’t really found any downside to being private," Dell told reporters at a media briefing in Bengaluru on Monday.

Dell bought the Texas-based company back from shareholders along with a private equity partner in a $24 billion leveraged deal in 2013.

“It’s just a whole lot easier being a private company. I would estimate that 20% of my time has just been freed up and I’m able to spend that time on customers, products and team members."

Dell decided to buy back the company that he founded nearly three decades ago to impart a long-term focus and double down on the investments that are really needed to better serve customers, without the scrutiny of Wall Street analysts.

In the last fiscal year that ended in January, Dell, which sells consumer products such as personal computers, laptops and tablets, and commercial products such as networking and storage equipment and cloud systems, filed 28% more patents in the US patents and trademark office than in the previous year. “That is a fairly staggering number for a company of our size," Dell said.

Analysts say Dell’s decision to go private has come at the right time as many of its competitors are struggling, facing tough investor demands.

Last year, International Business Machines Corp. sold its low-end server business to China’s Lenovo Group Ltd as it looked to exit low-margin businesses and stem the erosion in its hardware business.

Another competitor, Hewlett-Packard Co. (H-P) is splitting the business into a corporate technology company and a separate firm that sells personal computers and printers.

But Dell is unfazed. “For us the hardware business is still very good," he said. “The last thing we would do is separate those businesses. If another company wants to do it, that’s fine. We are marching to our own tune."

Dell also said he has no plans to re-enter the smartphone business where several companies are struggling to make profits. However, he sees consolidation in a shrinking personal computer market. The top three personal computer makers—Lenovo, H-P and Dell—corner roughly half the market, he said. In the next six or seven years, Dell expects the top three personal computer makers to take up to 80% of the market.

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