Michael Dell thought he was extending the olive branch to Russian prime minister Vladamir Putin when he offered IT help. Putin didn't take too kindly to the offer, to say the least. It all went down at the official opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Putin gave a 40-minute speech and then opened the floor up to questions. Michael Dell bit first, giving props to Russia for its scientific and technical prowess before asking "How can we help" to expand IT in Russia." Oops.
Putin's withering reply to Dell: "We don't need help. We are not invalids. We don't have limited mental capacity." The slapdown took many of the people in the audience by surprise. Putin then went on to outline some of the steps the Russian government has taken to wire up the country, including remote villages in Siberia. And, in a final dig at Dell, he talked about how Russian scientists were rightly respected not for their hardware, but for their software. The implication: Any old fool can build a PC outfit.
Oh, snap. Michael Dell then reportedly curled up in a ball under his table and wept quietly. [CNN Money]