Scottish independence: Computing giant Dell says independence would make no difference

COMPUTING giant Dell would continue to do business in an independent Scotland, one of the company’s key players pledged yesterday.

The Dell Corporation’s global president, Steve Felice, has indicated that the outcome of the independence referendum would not change the company’s commitment to Scotland.

He was asked if Dell’s plans would be altered, depending on whether Scotland chose to break away from the UK or to remain within the Union.

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“I cannot think of any difference,” said Felice, who is also Dell’s chief commercial officer and was on a visit to Scotland. “We are an organisation that deals with one customer at a time. So the customer is the government here.”

Felice said he wanted “to reiterate our commitment to Scotland”.

Last year Dell announced expansion plans that would see the number employed at its Glasgow operation increase from 800 to as many as 1,000. Dell also owns the Edinburgh operation of SecureWorks, the firm which specialises in information security.

The stance taken by the Texas-based company, a global market leader in personal computers, contrasts with the concerns about independence expressed by other members of the business community. Scottish entrepreneur John Pirrie, who sold LCH Generators for £62 million, has claimed that independence would be bad for business.

Scottish-based bra tycoon Michelle Mone has threatened to move her company to England if Scotland votes for independence.

Felice, in effect Michael Dell’s No 2 at the company the latter founded 25 years ago, had lunch last week with Alex Salmond at his Edinburgh residence, Bute House.

On his Scottish tour, he also met executives at Scottish Enterprise in Glasgow. He told the First Minister that his organisation’s approach centred on helping the country become smarter on the technological front and more attractive to overseas markets.

“Dell has a significant presence around the world, especially in the public sector where we can help public organisations with budget constraints to become more efficient and effective,” he said.

“In the case of here in Scotland, it is all about meeting the decision makers within key government institutions, so that they can better understand the role we can play in helping in traditional areas of government plus other areas like education and healthcare.”

Felice said Dell’s relationship with Scotland had gone “extraordinarily well” since the company decided in 2005 to establish the country as a support point for its UK operations.

Then, Dell worked closely with the Scottish Government together with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International, securing two regional selective assistance grants totalling more than £11 million.