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Dell: PCs, servers, storage to remain growth areas
Michael Dell
Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell, speaks during his keynote address at Comdex in Las Vegas  

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (IDG) -- Dell Computer Corp. is betting on the servers and storage market as a high-growth area for the near future, said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell in his keynote address at the Comdex trade show here Monday. The growth of high-speed Internet connections as well as the explosion of new devices for Internet access all portend a need for more server capacity, he said.

Dell predicted continued rapid growth in his company's server sales. Dell is Number 2 in the worldwide server market, he said, and one in four servers sold in the U.S. is a Dell. "We believe the same thing that happened in PCs and notebooks will happen in the server market."

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His company is committed to "industry standards" such as Windows 2000 and Linux, he said. He credited non-proprietary architecture, with its high rate of innovation and low cost, with helping break open the server market, once dominated by proprietary vendors such as Sun Microsystems Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Dell said his company's "scale-to-size" servers are proving popular with customers, listing several companies, such as, Exxon-Mobil Corp., Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., and the U.S. Navy, which have chosen his company's servers products.

Dell predicted a growing shift from fixed to mobile computing, but said technology such as automotive and handheld devices and Web-enabled phones are a complement and not a replacement for the PC. He said Dell's customers are telling the company they prefer the idea of mobile Internet access via wireless notebook computers, using technology such as the Bluetooth and 802.11 standards as well as emerging wireless telecommunications technology such as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), wideband CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System). He said new Dell products, such as a C600 wireless notebook, are poised to take advantage of that trend.

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"It's customers that made Dell great in the first place, and if we're smart enough and quick enough to listen to customer needs, we'll succeed," said Dell. He introduced several video segments featuring his mother interviewing people in the street about what products they want for their computing needs.

Dell said his company avoids "obsolescence" by responding to customer requests via the Web site, which generates some $50 million a day in revenue. Taken alone, would rank 90 on the Fortune 500 list of top companies, he said.

Dell outlined plans for further growth of the Internet platform. Over half of the company's customers use Web-based customer support -- a proportion which the company hopes to increase to over 80 percent by the end of next year, he said. Dell is increasingly using an online "resolution assistant" to diagnose problems remotely, he said, adding, "We believe we can detect and solve issues in a self-healing mode" over the Net.

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