Dell to announce its first printers in March

Dell Computer Corp. will announce its first own-brand printers in March, aiming them at home office users and large workgroups, Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell said Tuesday.

"You will see two waves of products coming out over the next several months that will give us coverage all the way from network printers to the home office," he told analysts at the Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium in La Quinta, California.

Dell aims to sell printers with its PC systems.

"We see a very large opportunity for Dell. In large organizations in the U.S. we have over 50 percent market share. With consumers in the U.S. we have 30 percent market share. If we can attach printers to those system sales, it's a very nice new business for us," he said in a webcast of the conference repeated after the event.

Dell distributed Hewlett-Packard Co. printers until last July, when HP cut off supplies following its merger with Dell's arch-rival, Compaq.

In September, Dell named Lexmark International Inc. its preferred printer supplier, in time for the busy holiday sales season. It also announced plans to introduce Lexmark printers under the Dell brand in the first half of this year.

While Dell expects to sell a lot of printers, he doesn't see huge changes ahead in the printer market.

"We know how to sell printers, we sold 2.5 million of them in the U.S. just last year," he said, adding, "I wouldn't expect a dramatic change in the competitive landscape for printing, because it's a big and complex market with lots of competitors with large installed bases."

Dell sees the PC market remaining depressed this year.

"Customers are still focused on cost and productivity. We're going to grow nicely this year, but I'm not looking for an overall improvement in general business conditions," he said.

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