1. Don't Call It A Merger: Many pundits consider the deal a merger of equals. That's a mistake. Dell is the buyer and Michael ultimately is calling the shots going forward.
2. Joe Tucci Retires: EMC CEO Joe Tucci is expected to retire once the deal is finalized. But how soon... and how much will Michael Dell lean on him for consulting -- and how much of that advice will Dell actually leverage?
3. New Channel Leader: We know John Byrne will become global channel chief once the companies are combined. And we know Dell and EMC will continue to maintain separate deal registration and partner programs for 2016. But by February 1, 2017, Dell Technologies will move to a unified partner and deal registration program. Can the company execute on that deadline? ChannelE2E is betting yes.
4. Channel Lieutenants: So what becomes of current Dell Channel Chief Cheryl Cook and EMC Channel Chief Gregg Ambulos? We posed that question to company officials last week. The response: Dell has no comment about the various channel team members until after the deal closes... Hmmm...
5. Strategic Alliances: Dell and EMC also have various strategic alliances. EMC, for instance, has spent the past year overhauling its alliance organization to work far more closely with ISVs and global systems integrators. The key leader behind that effort: Jay Snyder, senior VP of alliances and strategic sales. Where does Snyder and each alliance team go from here? We'll be watching.
6. IoT and Other Emerging Alliances: Like many companies, Dell has been building an Internet of Things (IoT) initiative. But unlike many rivals, the company actually has a dedicated leader nurturing the ecosystem. His name: Jason Shepherd, director of IoT strategy and partnerships.
7. More Asset Sales?: To strengthen its balance sheet ahead of the deal, Dell has already sold its IT services business (the former Perot Systems) and Dell Software (SonicWall, AppAssure, Quest Software). The company also IPOed SecureWorks. Are more asset sales in the works? Rumors about EMC potentially selling RSA and/or Documentum have circulated for multiple months. But as of this writing, neither asset has been sold...
8. Debt vs. R&D: Some folks worry Dell is taking on too much debt to buy EMC. In theory, that means Dell could get bogged down servicing the debt rather than plowing money into R&D. Not that big R&D spending guarantees success. But pundits will be watching to see if the new company pumps enough money into product and platform development.
9. Revenue & Profits vs Market Share: As a privately held company, Dell doesn't have to worry about quarter-to-quarter earnings results -- where a penny-per-share miss can tank your stock and send investors running for the exits. Still, there's no doubt that Dell's revenues have been shrinking. And the new company will need to work hard to grow revenue and profits -- without getting overly tempted to launch price wars for the sake of market share gains.
10. Layoffs and Consolidation: Let's face it. Every big M&A deal typically involves some headcount cuts -- often in the areas of marketing and communications. But how many cuts will the combined companies make? We're poking around for answers.
Stay tuned for more updates and continuing coverage as Dell's buyout of EMC reaches the finish line within the next few days or weeks -- and very likely, sometime this month. For starters, EMC is expected to announce earnings results on July 18. Then, EMC shareholders on July 19 are expected to vote on the deal...