Dell CEO brings services, printing message down under

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Dell's CEO has reaffirmed the direct juggernaut's commitment to expanding into services and consumer electronics as he embarked on a whirlwind trip to meet Australian partners and customers.

Dell's CEO Kevin Rollins has reaffirmed the direct juggernaut's commitment to expanding into services and consumer electronics as he embarked on a whirlwind trip to meet Australian partners and customers.

"In the first year in the US since the launch of our inkjets we've gone from zero to 10 percent market share," he claimed. Dell now has both consumer-focused inkjet printers and corporate focused laser printers in the Australian market.

Dell had capitalised on an opportunity within the consumables industry, which had been characterised by technology and high prices, said Rollins.

In Sydney to meet with corporate, education and government customers including the NSW government, recently promoted CEO Rollins said Dell's growth at home in the US was being outpaced by the Asia Pacific region. China, Japan and Australia were leading the way, he said.

Rollins dismissed the notion that Dell would be challenged to apply its low-margin manufacturing and direct marketing business model successfully in the services arena, saying the company's service strategy was "quite different" to its hardware strategy.

Dell was approaching services by leading with offerings which were "close to the hardware", then expanding the services over time in conjunction with business partners, said Rollins.

Channel partners were critical ingredients. "It's never been our intention to create a Dell services fleet of thousands -- we'd rather use their capacity and expand that way," said Rollins.

Dell's "cradle to grave" managed services offering had garnered about two million seats worldwide, said Rollins.

While Dell was committed to building its services business, Rollins said desktops still represent around 40 percent of Dell's business, with notebooks accounting for about 30 percent.

The move into plasma and LCD TVs was a "natural extension" for a business which was the largest procurer of flat panel displays in the world, said Rollins. "We've seen the ability to add a TV tuner to those displays.

"The TV market for us is small, but it will grow." Televisions represented a "second tier" priority for Dell. "That business could be a billion dollar market for us," said Rollins.

But he admitted that the consumer market was only a small portion of Dell's business. "About 85 percent of our sales are into corporate, business and government."

 According to IDC research, Dell has averaged growth of 47 percent over the past four quarters.

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