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DELL PLANS TO ENTER DIGITAL PROJECTOR MARKET

Reuters
Chicago, April 10

Dell Computer Corp. plans to enter the market for digital projectors, the No. 1 personal computer maker's founder and chief executive said on Tuesday.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company needs to find opportunities as technology changes, as it did with its switching business, Michael Dell said at an industry conference in Chicago.

Dell did not elaborate on his company's strategy for moving into the digital projector business, but said details will be provided at the official announcement next month.

Hewlett-Packard Co. said on Monday it was entering the portable digital projector market with two new products targeted at mobile users.

HP, which plans to merge with No. 2 personal computer maker Compaq Computer Corp. in what would be the largest technology deal ever, said both its products are scheduled to go on sale April 15, with base prices ranging from about $2,500 to $3,700.

The completion of the HP-Compaq deal is awaiting a final shareholder tally.

The sub-three pound front-projector market is forecast to grow almost 130 percent annually between 2001 and 2004, HP said, citing an industry study.

Dell dominated the personal computer market in 2001, using its high-volume, direct-distribution business to lower prices and steal market share from competitors. It has since begun applying this model to other products.

For instance, about six months ago, Dell started selling LAN, or local area network, switches, and in five months already owns 5 percent of the market, Dell told an audience of business executives at the conference. He said Dell's data networking products sell for two to three times less than competitors'.

Dell also reiterated on Tuesday that the company expects only a modest recovery in spending on technology such as computer servers, personal computers and data storage in the second half of 2002, and it may be six quarters until the long-awaited rebound hits its stride.

He declined to address whether IBM's Monday warning that its first-quarter results would fall far short of Wall Street forecasts reflected a broader market weakness. International Business Machines Corp. said that corporate customers were deferring new technology spending decisions.

Dell's shares were off 19 cents at $26.69 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.