As the personal computer market gets more constricted and margins get thinner, it should come as no surprise that information technology (IT) companies are looking more and more at consumer electronics (CE) as a way to branch out and pursue the continued growth that corporations seem to equate with success. Two pieces of news from Dell shows that the company is looking hard at CE as part of their turn around strategy now that Michael Dell has taken back the reigns of the company he founded.
An announcement last Friday underscored this focus, as Dell named a new Global Consumer Group, with its own president. Even more telling perhaps was the announcement earlier this month that Dell has started selling the popular line of Sony Bravia LCD HDTVs. Dell has sold computer peripherals and other products from third party manufacturers in the past, including Sony, but this is the first time that Dell has sold HDTVs of another brand. Dell has their own line of HDTVs, which it will continue to sell alongside the Sony products on its Web site. The Dell models range in size up to 37″, however, while the Sony models are 40″ and 46″.
This is not the first time that Dell has pulled back from its own brand products to get more punch from other CE brands. Dell gave up on its DJ Ditty MP3 players and now offers players from Archos, Creative Labs, iriver, Samsung, SanDisk, and Sony.
Whether Dell can make an impact in the CE market the way it did in the IT market remains to be shown. The company certainly knows how to promote products, and they have set the standard for online ordering of technology products. The big question is whether people will be willing to buy televisions online, or will they prefer to go to a local store to make their purchase and drive home with their new set the same day.