Demand for computers from large companies is likely to pick up by as soon as mid-2010 as a result of Microsoft's launch this week of its Windows 7 operating system, a senior Dell executive said on Wednesday.
Dell was also looking to the services capability and virtualisation software sectors for future acquisition possibilities, the company's president for large enterprise Stephen Schuckenbrock told reporters.
Windows 7 is the best quality product launch that Microsoft has had in a very long time, Schuckenbrock said. When you consider that Vista was a bust, Windows 7 is a capability upgrade on a scale that has really never been seen before.
Microsoft will launch its next-generation Windows 7 on Thursday, with many PC companies hoping that it will energize corporate replacement cycles as companies running on older versions of Windows buy new computers and servers.
The world's No.3 PC company recently completed the acquisition of software services provider Perot Systems, as it looks to expand into higher-margin businesses at a time when PCs are becoming increasingly commoditized and margins are thinning rapidly.
The company would continue to expand its services capabilities, and would continue to be open to acquisition opportunities to achieve that, Schuckenbrock said.
I would look for services capability as we drive to help customers save. Software that helps them exploit all the advantages of virtualisation is always something we are interested in, he said.
Dell and smaller rival Lenovo have both seen total PC unit sales fall in the past year, largely because of their reliance on corporate spending, and are looking to diversify their businesses to arrest declining sales.
Acer overtook Dell as the world's No.2 PC brand in the third quarter, research firms IDC and Gartner said earlier this month, helped by its success in the low-cost netbook PC segment.
Schuckenbrock said Dell was less focused on taking back the No.2 spot from Acer at any cost, and more interested in running the most profitable business possible.
We're not unit (sales) focused, he said. We're focused on the healthy balance of our business ... We don't want to chase things that don't make sense.
(Additional reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Chris Lewis)