Hey, Best Buy! You're getting a Dell

Dell hopes move to second major retailer can help it regain market share lost to rival HP

Dell Inc. will soon begin selling its desktop and laptop computers at Best Buy Co. stores, another move to the retail world in its apparent attempt to mount a stronger challenge to high-flying rival Hewlett-Packard Co.

The company announced on Thursday that it will begin shipping XPS Inspiron laptop and desktop computers, including the XPS One all-in-one desktop machine, to about 900 Best Buy stores in the U.S. over the next few weeks, perhaps in time to take advantage of the holiday season.

Dell long depended only on direct sales channels to sell its computers for many years, but the company last summer branched out to sell them in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. retail outlets in the U.S.

Best Buy touts itself as the largest electronics retailer in the U.S.

The news of Dell expanding its sales to Best Buy stores comes about a week after market research firm iSuppli Corp. released research showing that HP's strong third-quarter sales extended its already strong lead over Dell in the PC business.

ISuppli reported on Nov. 29 that HP shipped 13.1 million PCs in the third quarter, 3.2 million, or 32.7% more than in the year-earlier period. The latest numbers expand HP's PC market share to 19.2% in the third quarter, up from 18.3% in the second quarter and 16.5% in the third quarter of last year.

The news wasn't so glowing for Dell, though.

HP's longtime rival underperformed the market, showing only 1.5% growth in the third quarter. Dell shipped 9.9 million PCs worldwide in the quarter, just 100,000 more than in the same period last year. According to iSuppli's numbers, Dell posted the weakest growth in the third quarter among the top five PC manufacturers.

According to iSuppli, Dell's PC market share fell to 14.6% in the third quarter from 16.3% a year earlier.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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