Dell Inc chief executive Kevin Rollins said on Thursday the company will continue to expand beyond traditional desktop PCs and offer more flat-panel televisions, laptops and printers to help grow its business to US$80 billion within four years.
"As we've diversified, the PC unit volumes are less indicative of the way our company will perform," Rollins said during Dell's annual meeting with analysts. "While we're still interested in PC growth, it's not going to be the predictor it once was."
His comments came a day after Dell reaffirmed its first-quarter earnings guidance of US$0.37 per share on sales of US$13.4 billion issued Feb. 10, in line with analysts surveyed so far by Thomson First Call. Dell releases earnings for the February-April period after markets close on May 12.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell predicted that revenue will grow from US$49 billion to US$80 billion over the next three to four years.
After nearly hitting US$50 billion in sales last year, the company raised its goal from US$60 billion to US$80 billion in annual revenue.
Dell has strengthened its industry-leading position in PC sales by reducing costs and undercutting rivals on price.
Rollins said the company's increasing push into servers, data-storage equipment, printers, consumer electronics and technology services will help offset cooling desktop PC demand. According to IDC, PC shipments are expected to grow by a more moderate 10 percent this year.
"It's clear to us that things are a bit slower, even a bit slower than we had thought, but it's nothing that we're lighting our hair on fire," he said. "It still is moving at a very healthy pace."
Rollins said Dell has maintained profitability in a turbulent industry that has seen executive shake-ups at Hewlett-Packard Co and the recent purchase of IBM Corp's personal computing division by Lenovo, China's top computer maker.
Analysts welcomed the diversification talk in the face of rivals HP and IBM.
"It's a scale issue. What they're really saying is that they are going to be able to scale to the level of an IBM or an HP," Ron Silliman of Gartner said. "Dell is going into that scale more focused but also talking diversification. This organization is probably the most rigorous in the industry on the question of execution."
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