Michael Dell: Linux Coming to SMBs, Europe Soon

This is part of Dell's efforts to expand the company's presence beyond its traditional strengths in the U.S. market.

Dell plans on expanding the reach of its factory-installed Linux PCs to include small and midsize businesses and Europe, Michael Dell, the companys founder and CEO, said at a July 10 event in New York.

At an event to promote its new line of desktops and notebooks for small businesses, Michael Dell held a roundtable discussion to expand on his plans for the company. The topics included the company embracing Linux for its PCs, services for its enterprise customers and how the company plans to reinvent itself to compete against rivals such as Hewlett-Packard.

In May, Dell announced that it would begin preinstalling select consumer desktops and notebooks with Ubuntu Linux. The company has expanded its Linux offerings into other consumer PCs, but the Round Rock, Texas, vendor has not talked about how or when it will expand its Linux PCs into other markets.

At July 10 show, Michael Dell confirmed a posting on the Direct2Dell site that the company has specific plans to expand its Linux offering. This will include a focus on SMBs as well as the European market. Dell, however, did not offer a specific time frame.

"We have introduced some additional [Linux] models, and our latest Inspiron launch added some other systems to our Linux roster, and we do have plans to expand into small businesses and to expand outside of the U.S. and into Europe," Dell said.

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Offering some of the companys PCs with Linux is one of the ways that Michael Dell is to looking to reinvigorate the fortunes of his namesake company. In the past year, Dell has watched its market share slip, and HP has emerged as the top-selling PC vendor.

Since returning to day-to-day operations in January, Michael Dell has looked to push his company to offer more options to both its enterprise and consumer customers. In addition to Linux, the company has offered technologies such as SSD (solid state drive) options with its enterprise-class PCs.

Offering Linux outside of North America appears to be part of Michael Dells efforts to expand the companys presence beyond its traditional strengths in the U.S. market. During his talk, Dell talked about how his company either has built or is looking the build factories in Europe and Asia.

"We have made a little bit of [progress], but we have a long way to go," Dell said. "We have really set out to transform the company, and were looking broadly at a lot of things. Some have been working well, and some have not. There are a lot of areas we would like to improve and bring in some new talent. Some of these areas include services and expanding into some new geographies."

Dell added that the company might also look toward acquisition in order to build the business and strengthen some divisions.

In addition to areas such as small businesses—the company introduced its Vostro line of PCs at the July 10 events—Dell plans to continue its effort to offer more services to its enterprise customers.

In March, Dell introduced its Dell Data Center Solutions Division, which was created to help companies plan and build data centers, while addressing issues ranging from power and cooling to the centers overall design.

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Michael Dell said the division is creating data centers for Internet and Web 2.0 companies that need to add dozens of new servers each month to keep up with the demands of customers.

Dell added that the company is planning to offer a new blade architecture later this year. While blades are considered the hottest part of the server market, with Dell competing against HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems for customer dollars, Michael Dell said customers are looking for holistic solutions that go beyond the rack level and address concerns across the data center.

Blade systems are only one part of the answer for designing better and more efficient data centers, Dell said.

"Blades are one answer, but blades dont really answer all the need of very dense data centers, and thats one of the ideas we keep in mind when we are designing data centers for some of the larger Internet companies," Dell said.

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