FRAMINGHAM (04/07/2000) - Dell Computer Corp. is expanding its reach in the e-commerce marketplace with broad plans to provide everything from specific-function Internet server appliances to Web start-up services.
Following the lead of other major PC and server makers, such as IBM Corp., Compaq Computer Corp.,and Hewlett-Packard Co.- all of which have made deep forays into the e-commerce products and services market - Dell is moving beyond its traditional mode of selling PCs, servers and workstations to tackle more global services. The new initiative includes plans for a server appliance that's preloaded with Red Hat Linux - one of the most popular on the market - as well as programs aimed at service providers and investment money for Internet-related start-ups.
The reason is simple: The market is ripe and ready to accept entrants.
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with market research firm IDC in Framingham, Mass., says users are currently shunning name-brand server makers such as Dell - No.
2 worldwide in server shipments - when buying Internet appliance servers in favor of buying cheap components and building them themselves to keep costs down.
Kusnetzky says Dell is aiming to be their choice instead. And the fact that Dell is no stranger to the e-commerce market, with $40 million in daily sales over its Web site, suggests the company is well-positioned to expand its scope.
Toward that end, Dell made several announcements last week detailing its overall e-business strategy, including:
PowerApp appliance servers designed for specific Internet infrastructure tasks, such as Web serving, caching and load balancing.
Service Provider Direct: Programs aimed at ISPs, application service providers and Web-hosting providers. Already signed on are Exodus, Corio and Navisite.
"E"xpert Services: Service offerings that allow businesses to use Dell's e-consulting partnerships with Arthur Andersen and Gen3 Partners to help develop and deploy Internet strategies.
Universal Access: An effort to enable universal Internet access through a combination of devices, connectivity offerings and access choices. The initiative includes narrow-band services, broadband offerings, and wireless products and services for homes and offices.
Dell Ventures: This program is aimed at companies with technologies, products and services that are Internet-related. Dell Ventures will provide equity investments and services for some early-stage private companies to accelerate development.