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Q2 profits for Dell

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Dell has reported preliminary results for its second quarter of fiscal year 2008, with revenue of $14,8-billion, operating income of $896-million and earnings per share of $0,32. 

Strength in enterprise products and services, improved average selling prices and favorable component costs drove profitability in the quarter. Cash and marketable securities were $13,8-billion at the end of the quarter.
“We continue to invest in company initiatives that align our products and services around customers’ needs in order to drive long-term, sustainable performance and extend our position as a trusted technology partner,” says chairman and CEO Michael Dell.  “While our results demonstrate we’ve made progress against our goals, we are still in the early stages of transforming our company’s structure, costs and operations.”
Several factors adversely impacted operating expenses in the quarter, including $102-million, or $0,03 per share, in incremental compensation expense related to payments for expired in-the-money stock options; $59-million, or $0,02 per share, in costs associated with the Audit Committee’s investigation into certain accounting and financial reporting matters; and higher headcount and associated costs related to investments in sales and customer support.
As the company continues to implement its transformation programme, the priority is to drive profitable growth while reducing operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. It expects to accomplish this by improving front-line productivity, reducing headcount where appropriate and investing in infrastructure and key growth initiatives.  The company is focused on the optimal alignment of resources, coupled with scaling via growth initiatives and cost reduction, and continues to pursue reductions in headcount.
Several actions during the second quarter reflected Dell’s ongoing strategy to simplify IT for its customers by reducing the cost, time and complexity of managing information technology, including:
* The launch of the VostroT brand of notebook and desktop computers, the first product line designed for the unique needs of small businesses, featuring simple-to-use tools that address problems such as data back-up and PC performance and health, and dedicated customer support. Vostro products do not include “trialware” and feature specialised networking support for customers who don’t have a dedicated IT staff.
* The introduction of our new flagship ultra-portable notebook, the XPS M1330, the world’s thinnest 13,3-inch notebook, featuring cutting-edge design elements and a durable magnesium alloy chassis with brushed aluminum accents.  In addition, new Inspiron notebook systems feature mobile broadband, widescreen displays, built-in webcams and eight color choices.
* Agreements to acquire ASAP Software, a leading software solutions and licensing services provider; privately-held SilverBack Technologies, a service delivery platform provider for remote monitoring and management of information technology infrastructure such as servers, storage, networks, desktops and notebooks; and Zing Systems, a consumer technology and services company that focuses on always-connected audio and entertainment devices.
* Announced plans to reach more customers globally via indirect distribution channels through partnerships with Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs in North and South America, Bic Camera of Japan and Carphone Warehouse in the UK.
Server revenue in the second quarter was $1,6-billion. For Q2, Dell was again No. 1 in the US in server units shipped with 32,7% share.  Storage revenues were $0,6-billion.  During the quarter, Forrester Consulting issued a report that demonstrated how Dell’s new IT simplification solutions, which include server consolidation and virtualization solutions, increased the ROI benefits for one of Dell’s customers.
Dell also announced a partnership with Emerson Network Power and its Liebert power and cooling business to help customers lower their datacenter power and cooling requirements by up to 42% and increase systems performance by up to 80% compared to prior generations of Dell servers.
Revenue from mobility products was $3,9-billion while desktop revenue was $5-billion.  During the quarter, the company ran a higher-than-normal product backlog, driven by better-than-expected demand for the new Inspiron and XPS color notebooks coupled with supply constraints for several colours, and a tightening in supply of certain flat-panel displays.  The company believes the supply environment will improve in the second half of the year.  Enhanced services revenue was $1,3-billion and software and peripherals revenue was $2,4-billion.