Vladimir Putin and Michael Dell lock horns at Davos

A choice insight into the interaction between the world leaders and tech moguls came from the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland yesterday.

Michael Dell, CEO and chairman of computer manufacturer, was discussing the prospects for expansion in developing countries – including Russia – on a panel that included that countries former President and now prime minister Vladimir Putin.

“When we look at the level of talent [in Russia], there is still room to further utilise the IT sector,” the Texan told the Russian. “So my question to you is: How can we as the IT sector, help you broaden the economy as you come out of the crisis, and take advantage of that great scientific talent that you have?”

This did not go down well.

“The trick is that we don’t need any help,” Putin responded. “We are not invalids, we do no have any limited capacity. People with limited capacity should be helped; pensioners should be helped, developing countries should be helped.”

He went to describe how pervasive IT already is in Russian society and the government’s IT Russia program, as Dell looks sheepishly on. “Our programmers are the best in the world, and everyone would agree,” he concluded. “Even our Indian colleagues.”

You can watch the exchange in the video below.




Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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