Dell previously had its headquarters in the complex in northern . In 1989 Dell occupied 127,000 square feet (11,800 m2) in the Arboretum complex. In 1990, Dell had 1,200 employees in its headquarters. In 1993, Dell submitted a document to Round Rock officials, titled "Dell Computer Corporate Headquarters, Round Rock, Texas, May 1993 Schematic Design." Despite the filing, during that year the company said that it was not going to move its headquarters. In 1994, Dell announced that it was moving most of its employees out of the Arboretum, but that it was going to continue to occupy the top floor of the Arboretum and that the company's official headquarters address would continue to be the Arboretum. The top floor continued to hold Dell's board room, demonstration center, and visitor meeting room. Less than one month prior to August 29, 1994, Dell moved 1,100 customer support and telephone sales employees to Round Rock. Dell's lease in the Arboretum had been scheduled to expire in 1994.
Assembly of desktop computers for the North American market formerly took place at Dell plants in (original location) and (opened in 1999), which have been closed in 2008 and early 2009, respectively. The plant in received $280 million USD in incentives from the state and opened in 2005, but ceased operations in November 2010, and Dell's contract with the state requires them to repay the incentives for failing to meet the conditions. Most of the work that used to take place in Dell's U.S. plants was transferred to contract manufacturers in Asia and Mexico, or some of Dell's own factories overseas. The facility of its subsidiary remains in operation, while Dell continues to produce its servers (its most profitable products) in .
In the shrinking PC industry, Dell continued to lose market share, as it dropped below in 2011 to fall to number three in the world. Dell and fellow American contemporary came under pressure from Asian PC manufacturers , Asus, and Acer, all of which had lower production costs and willing to accept lower profit margins. In addition, while the Asian PC vendors had been improving their quality and design, for instance Lenovo's series was winning corporate customers away from Dell's laptops, Dell's customer service and reputation had been slipping. Dell remained the second-most profitable PC vendor, as it took 13 percent of operating profits in the PC industry during Q4 2012, behind 's Macintosh that took 45 percent, seven percent at , six percent at and Asus, and one percent for Acer.
By the late 2000s, Dell's "configure to order" approach of manufacturing—delivering individual PCs configured to customer specifications from its US facilities was no longer as efficient or competitive with high-volume Asian contract manufacturers as PCs became powerful low-cost commodities. Dell closed plants that produced desktop computers for the North American market, including the Mort Topfer Manufacturing Center in (original location) and (opened in 1999) in 2008 and early 2009, respectively. The desktop production plant in , received 280 million in incentives from the state and opened in 2005, but ceased operations in November 2010. Dell's contract with the state required them to repay the incentives for failing to meet the conditions, and they sold the North Carolina plant to Herbalife. Most of the work that used to take place in Dell's U.S. plants was transferred to contract manufacturers in Asia and Mexico, or some of Dell's own factories overseas. The , facility of its subsidiary remains in operation, while Dell continues to produce its servers (its most profitable products) in . On January 8, 2009, Dell announced the closure of its manufacturing plant in Limerick, Ireland, with the loss of 1,900 jobs and the transfer of production to its plant in in Poland.