PC direct seller Dell last week announced plans to enter the graphics workstation market as it posted record year-end results.
The workstations will be launched within the next nine to 12 months and pitched directly against machines from Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics.
They will also compete against workstations from Compaq, which recently returned to the sector.
Mike Newton, managing director of corporate business at Dell UK, said: "Today we are in the dual-processor, very high-end PC workstation market.
What we'll be doing in nine to 12 months is beefing up the graphics capabilities and bringing out a range of products that compete in the low to mid-range workstation market."
Newton added that Dell would be working in partnership with third parties on the improved graphics capabilities but declined to name the companies concerned.
The workstation plan was revealed in Dell's annual results statement.
For the year ended 2 February, Dell reported a 91% increase in net income to $518 million (#324 million). Revenues for the 12 months were $7.8 billion, a 47% rise on last year. For the fourth quarter, Dell said sales increased more than three times the industry rate, rising 57% to $2.4 billion. Net income for the three months grew 170% to $188 million. The results exceeded city expectations.
"In the UK revenues grew twice as fast as the market," said Newton. "We have a 10% market share, which is higher than (Dell's share) anywhere else in the world."
"We saw very encouraging results in our notebook business. Servers, globally, saw a year-on-year growth of 310% - they now constitute 6% of total revenues, from 3% a year ago," he added. The bulk (74%) of Dell's revenues come from desktops, and the remaining 20% from notebooks.
Dell said sales of PCs via its Internet Web site (dell.com) were gathering pace. According to chief executive Michael Dell: "The Internet could be considered the ultimate extension of our direct business approach."
Newton said consumers and small businesses were its biggest on-line customers today, with 12% of sales in those two sectors generated via contact through its Web site.
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