RealTime IT News

Where Does Dell See Growth?

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Dell won't reveal details of its consumer electronics push until tomorrow, but its founder and CEO today dropped hints that TV will figure prominently.

"What's the difference between a monitor and a television? It's not very much." CEO Michael Dell said at a technology conference here. "We are the largest provider of LCD monitors in the word. The only difference is a tuner, a small piece of electronics."

Dell, speaking at The Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT, also said the Round Rock, Texas, company's newest initiative places the PC at the center of the home network, connecting to audio and visual devices.

Industry watchers expect Dell's announcement to include some type of media player, and Dell mentioned that he is cognizant of digital rights management issues and the need to create an environment for content owners.

He said Dell could get involved with music and movies, but wouldn't divulge more specifics. Dell already has a handheld offering and is planning another, but said that market is relatively small.

All told, Dell, who pioneered the direct supply model, said the consumer market represents about 15 percent of overall IT industry sales but is often overlooked.

"We look at markets that are large, markets where there is an opportunity for profit -- usually it's because of inefficiency or high markups," Dell said.

On the business side, Dell said he sees opportunities in grid computing, whereby a customer harnesses the power of hundreds or thousands of server to perform complex calculations.

Industries such as bio-tech and seismology are two examples of industries that could use the approach, which Dell says can cost one-tenth that of a supercomputer.

On a less imposing scale, servers, storage equipment and switches represent growth areas in the regular enterprise market.