Retreat is often as easy as wiping an entire product line off its virtual shelf, and that's exactly what Dell Computer
It has been a gradual withdrawal. The company had already stopped making the larger capacity hard drive-based players, narrowing its offerings to the flash memory-based Ditty. Now its online store is peddling replacement players from the likes of SanDisk
Failure was inevitable. Three out of every four portable music players in the market are Apple Computer
Still, this isn't just a computer company. Beyond the related accessories, Dell diving into something like large-screen television sets makes sense as an extension of its monitor business. However, that's a highly fragmented market. It was almost embarrassing to see the company try to take on a monster like Apple's iPod. When your reputation is at stake, it's better to commit yourself only to battles that you stand a chance at winning. Besides, management's got some untapped ways to be cool if it wants to.
Dell has certainly gotten around in investing circles. A few years ago, it was initially recommended in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor growth stock newsletter service. More recently, the stock's pummeling finds it at home in the Inside Value camp of recommendations, as a potential turnaround.
So it's OK to let the music die, Dell. Just whistle while you work on getting back to basics.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has a Dell, but does most of his computing on an HP system. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. T he Fool has a disclosure policy.