February 06, 2013, 9:08 AM — Just as Dell announced it had finalized its buyout deal, Hewlett-Packard came out swinging, criticizing its rival and declaring it's going after Dell's customers.
On Tuesday, Dell, the third-largest PC maker, said executives had finalized a $24.4 billion buyout to take the company private. The move is expected to enable Dell, which has been a public company for about 25 years, to operate without shareholder and Wall Street pressures.
However, while all industry eyes were on Dell, HP slammed Dell's buyout decision.
"Dell has a very tough road ahead," HP wrote in a released statement. "The company faces an extended period of uncertainty and transition that will not be good for its customers. And with a significant debt load, Dell's ability to invest in new products and services will be extremely limited."
HP then said it will be working to pull Dell's users into its corner.
"Leveraged buyouts tend to leave existing customers and innovation at the curb," HP wrote. "We believe Dell's customers will now be eager to explore alternatives, and HP plans to take full advantage of that opportunity."
PC makers Lenovo and Acer did not respond to requests for comment.
HP's statement, though, was a surprise since the company, which has been struggling to retain its number one position in the PC market, has had its own struggles over the past few years and late. On Tuesday, reports surfaced that HP's board of directors may again be considering breaking up the business.
It wouldn't be the first time that HP mulled splitting up the company. In 2011, the company considered a spin-off of its PC arm.
HP later decided against the move but Dell chief executive Michael Dell was quick to jump in, saying he saw HP's wavering as an opportunity for his own company.
Dell and HP have a history of sparring in public and not mincing words.