Originally created 09/26/03

Dell entering consumer electronics market



AUSTIN, Texas -- Dell Inc. will enter the consumer electronics market with television sets, digital music players and an online music service, opening yet another front in it's war with rivals Gateway and Apple Computer.

"In extending into new categories, it gives us another opportunity to revolutionize products on behalf of our customers," CEO Michael Dell said Thursday at a news conference announcing the product expansion.

All of the products will be released this fall and be available in time for the holiday season, Dell said. The company would not release pricing or other details.

Dell's flat panel TV will be launched Oct. 21, as the Round Rock-based company tracks Gateway's move to consumer electronics after suffering brutal losses to Dell in the PC market.

Dell's LCD monitor will combine an ultra-bright flat-panel monitor and a television tuner that allows consumers to watch TV and streaming video, play games and use PC applications. The wide format 17-inch display can be used as either a television or as a computer monitor, is HDTV input ready and features integrated speakers.

"By introducing high-performing consumer electronics products that closely integrate with the computer, we are delivering what is most important to consumers - content and experience - at a better value than they're currently getting," Dell said.

The Dell Digital Jukebox, designed with large storage capacity, longer battery life and easy-to use controls, will be released in conjunction with the Dell Music Store, an online music store where customers can download music.

The product takes aim at Apple's runaway success with its online iTunes Music Store and iPod digital music player. Apple's iTunes Music Store has sold more than 10 million songs at 99 cents each since its April 28 launch.

"As we were developing over time, we asked our customers what they want and need from Dell," said Mike George, Dell chief marketing officer. "What we heard was that when working with all these other consumer electronic providers it was too costly, they're not getting the service they want. We want to make sure they work simply and easily with the PC and make it easy to buy in one place."

Dell also will release a home projector and an upgraded Axim handheld.

George said the company will continue to watch the consumer electronic market to develop other tech products.

"What we see happening is the wall between the PC and consumer electronic devices is getting torn down," George said. "That's our goal: to provide great consumer electronics as these markets standardize. We believe we can offer the absolute best value in the industry coupled with service and support consistent with values of our brand."

Shares of Dell gained 43 cents to $34.33 in midday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.