Dell Confirms Interest in Printers, PDAs

Computer maker confirms plans to enter the printer and PDA markets, announces strong profits.

Dell Computer Corp. confirmed on Thursday it plans to enter the printer and PDA markets.

The confirmation came during a conference call to discuss its quarterly earnings, which showed that profits and sales increased strongly from a year ago.

However, CEO Michael Dell downplayed speculation about the companys printer and PDA plans, contending that the computer maker will remain far more focused on PC, server and storage sales to corporate customers.

"I want to emphasize that a lot of our growth is coming from higher-end enterprise products," Dell said in a conference call with reporters from the companys headquarters in Round Rock, Texas. "While you may see us getting into the printer market or the PDA market—well, you will see us, actually, so lets get that out of the way—those are going to be relatively small portions of Dells business in the near term, certainly [smaller] compared to the server, storage and enterprise markets, and not nearly the level of focus or emphasis."

Aside from confirming much-rumored plans to introduce its own branded printers and PDAs, Dell declined to offer further details about what those products might be or when they might be introduced.

For the quarter, Dells sales totaled $8.5 billion for the second quarter, an almost 12 percent increase over the $7.6 billion in sales it recorded during the same period last year.

For the three-month period that ended Aug. 2, Dells net income amounted to $501 million, a dramatic turnaround from the $101 million loss it reported a year ago. Last years loss was the result of a $742 million charge the computer maker took to cover the costs of plant closings and layoffs tied to a industrywide downturn in computer and server sales.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, Dell projected that its unit shipments will rise 5 percent, despite acknowledging that industrywide sales are likely to remain flat. Dell said the optimistic forecast was based on the companys expectation that it will continue to gain market share from competitors as it has succeeded in doing over the last two years.