CEO SUMMIT: Dell sees future with ASPs, wireless

Ensuring a robust future for PC companies means combining tried and true business models with changes created by the internet economy, Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Computer, said at a conference here Tuesday.

"Success with the internet is not really all that different from old businesses. The fundamental rules of economics have not been repealed. That said, huge changes are taking place," Dell said in his speech, which opened the The Wall Street Journal Europe's CEO Summit on Converging Technologies here in London.

"Pretty soon the letter 'E' may be returned to its rightful place in the English language," Dell said, in reference to the ubiquitous prefix used in neologisms like "e-commerce", "e-tailing" and the like.

Dell Computer, which is the second-largest PC maker in the world after Compaq and the largest in the US, is gaining strength in its server business. "I can say that we have the number-two position worldwide in the server business," Dell said.

Taking advantage of other companies' strengths and sharing efficiencies across businesses is also important in moving forward, Dell said. "Businesses collaborating allows us to more rapidly deliver on our customer's needs," Dell said.

For example, as part of its growing server business, Dell Computer is working to establish partnerships with various ASPs (application server providers). "Dell (Computer) is offering hosting today and building relationships with ASPs. We see that as an emerging opportunity," Dell said.

Dell Computer is also establishing relationships with telecommunication companies in order to take advantage of new opportunities that broadband and wireless technologies are creating, Dell said. A possible outgrowth may be the bundling of products and communication services, Dell pointed out.

"Telecommunications companies are becoming increasingly important to us. The biggest beneficiary of GPRS (general packet radio services) may be Dell's three-pound mobile computer that will be wirelessly attached to the internet that has now been released," Dell said.

According to Dell, consumers see PCs and handheld devices as products with a short life span and continually want to upgrade to more powerful or technologically advanced products. As such, there will always be a market for PCs and smaller hardware products, Dell said.

"I don't believe that WAP (wireless application protocol) phones or Palm pilots will replace the PC. They are complements," Dell added.

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