Dude! You're getting a cash register

Dell Computer announced this week it would start selling smart cash registers that process debit and credit cards and manage other electronic retail transactions. Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. A visit to Dell's vast campus in Austin, Texas, last week suggests we're only beginning to see how diverse this company's products will be.

Dell is becoming something akin to the Amazon.com of technology, particularly for business computing. What's different about Dell is that while it sells products from many companies, it puts its own brand on the most expensive stuff. That boosts profit margins. And because it sells direct it gains significant cost advantages over competitors who sell through resellers and stores. That's largely why its U.S. PC industry market share has jumped to a dominant 29%.

The brand is extending further and further. Already Dell sells its own Axim handheld PDA, and has announced it will soon start selling Dell printers. For business customers, it offers network switches and data storage devices. Though these tend mostly to be at the low-end, Dell is steadily moving up. With EMC, for example, it jointly sells very powerful enterprise storage systems.

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News source: CNN.com

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