Why large trader is selling calls in Dell

As Dell tries to rebound off multi-year lows, one option trader is positioning for limited upside.

DELL is up 1.35 percent to $ 11.99 in midday trading. The PC maker dipped to $ 11.43 on Wednesday, essentially matching the three-year low last seen in August 2010. Shares were trading above $ 17 in March before gapping down from above $ 15 in late May.

A trader sold 7,500 January 14 calls for the bid price of $ 0.34, optionMONSTER’s systems show. The volume exceeded the open interest at the beginning of the day, so this was a new position.

The calls could have been sold naked in a trade that would have an initial bearish bias but would potentially profit with the stock anywhere below $ 14.35 at expiration. The options could also have been sold against long shares in a covered cal l strategy, which would be bullish up to the strike strike but would not partake in any gains with the stock above that level. (See our Education section)

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  • Leap trade positions for rebound soon

Dell re-enters high-end Linux laptop market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Summary: Through the years, Dell has had an on-and-off relation with Linux. It looks like they’ve kissed and made up, judging by the pair of new high-end laptops running Red Hat Enterprise that Dell unveiled today.


Dell-RHEL

Dell has blown hot and cold on the Linux desktop over the years. Dell was the first major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to offer consumer Linux desktops in 2007, but since then Linux-powered mobile PCs have only been available from Dell by special order.

No more.

In addition to the upcoming ‘Sputnik’ Ubuntu Linux developer laptop, Dell is now offering two new high-end mobile workstations with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 for Desktops. 

Dell claims the two new systems — the Dell Precision M4700 and M6700 — are the “world’s most powerful 15-inch and 17-inch mobile workstations.” Citation needed, perhaps, but on the face of it do have a good aesthetic quality about them. 

Both models come with the latest Intel Core i5, i7 and Extreme Edition processors with Turbo Boost Technology, and a range of graphics cards including NVIDIA’s Quadro K-series GPUS and AMD FirePro graphics. The top of the line M6700 also offers AMD FirePro M6000 with PCIe x16 Gen 3 for fast data throughput. With any of these you can get up to high-definition 1920×1080-pixel resolution.

You can cram as much as 32GBs of DDR3 SDRAM and up to 16GBs of 1866MHz memory for high performance and fast access to large data sets. For permanent storage, you can get 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), a 256GB SSD, or a 750GB hard drive. You can put up to three storage devices in the M4700 and four in the M6700, meaning for enough money you can have to 1.8TBs in the former and up to 2.8TBs of total storage in the latter. Dell, for one PC maker, clearly still believes in local PC storage instead of cloud computing.

On both systems, the I/O ports include two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and one eSATA / USB combo ports and three integrated video ports: VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2.

What about Ubuntu Linux on Dell? You can still order it in some countries and, of course, Ubuntu 12.04 will be on the Sputnik.

Dell is currently selling Ubuntu powered laptops in China and India retail stores. In the States and most other countries, you’ll need to special order Ubuntu laptops. Dell, Lenovo, and HP all have many systems, which have been certified with Ubuntu.

Dell has yet to announce where the RHEL-powered workstations will be but considering that their audience are developers and engineers with the deep pockets needed to spend $ 1,649 for the Dell Precision M4700, $ 2,199 for the M6700 and $ 3,579 for the M6700 with all the trimmings, it seems likely to me that they will be available in the U.S., the EU, Canada, and the UK.

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  • Has Microsoft opened the door to the Linux desktop?
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Dell Introduces Microsoft Office 365 with Dell, a Cloud-Based Productivity and Collaboration Solution for Small- and …

ROUND ROCK, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Dell today announced it will offer Microsoft Office 365 to small- and medium business customers starting today. Microsoft Office 365 with Dell delivers access to the full suite of Microsoft productivity solutions – like Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office Web Apps, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Lync and more – from virtually any Dell device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, enabling a common experience across all devices and the ability to work on the same document on multiple devices. Dell is also extending its 24x7x365 customer support and services on almost any PC platform.

Microsoft Office 365 with Dell is an online subscription service that provides email, shared calendars, the ability to create and edit documents online, instant messaging, web conferencing, and internal team sites — all accessible anywhere from nearly any device. Microsoft Office 365 with Dell is hosted by Microsoft datacenters and designed to help increase productivity, streamline IT management & data security and realize cost benefits simply – all through the cloud.

“Dell is committed to helping small- and medium-business customers realize the full power of the cloud,” said Cindy Grogan, executive director of software marketing, Dell. “The latest addition in Dell’s growing list of SMB cloud solutions, Microsoft Office 365 with Dell saves customers valuable time and resources by providing access to our trusted 24x7x365 customer support and certified technicians with one common billing platform. Dell is committed to helping customers improve productivity and collaboration anywhere, anytime.”

The Full Benefits of the Cloud with Dell and Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 with Dell empowers customers to use the cloud to streamline IT costs, helping reduce unpredictable capital expenses for reliable operational expenses. This solution also delivers a single, unified inbox and calendar, quick and easy online meetings or video conferences, and a centralized SharePoint portal where documents can be easily shared.

“With the availability of Office 365 to Dell’s customers, Dell and Microsoft are enabling SMBs to be more mobile, more secure, and more productive,” said Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president, U.S. small and medium businesses and partners, Microsoft. “Dell’s ability to help SMBs adopt this cloud-based solution while also facilitating set up and support makes them ideal to sell Office 365.”

Availability and Pricing:

Microsoft Office 365 with Dell is available in the United States now starting at $ 9 per user, per month for the Small Business Plan. Additional pricing options and bundle packages are available with other solutions coming soon.

Key Links:

Microsoft Office 365 with Dell on Dell.com

About Dell

Dell Inc. (DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.

Dell to Introduce New Wyse Thin Clients for Windows 8 OS

It’s been just 60 days since Dell completed the acquisition of thin-client company Wyse, but the business unit is moving forward with plans to release new thin clients designed to work with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS.

The devices will be tuned to work with the touch-based Metro user-interface in Windows 8, and the new hardware will be shown at VMware’s VMworld conference in San Francisco between August 26 and 30, said Jeff McNaught, chief strategy and marketing officer of the Wyse business unit at Dell, on Tuesday.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS is due for release on tablets and PCs later this year. The OS has improved virtual desktop features and the touch interface that could make thin clients more interactive with a tablet-like usage model, McNaught said. One example would be kiosks, which could capture information better with touch.

McNaught declined to provide details on the type of thin clients Dell would launch, but said the hardware would provide more “finely tuned” experiences based on Windows 8.

Dell’s Wyse unit offers a range of products including thin clients in the form of laptops, monitors and zero-client desktop boxes. Virtual desktops are served to the thin clients either via centralized or virtualized servers, and Wyse also provides desktop virtualization tools to enable remote desktops. For example, the company provides PocketCloud for tablets and smartphones based on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android so the mobile devices can access files on Windows and Macintosh computers.

Wyse thin clients are based on x86 and ARM processors, and run on the proprietary ThinOS, Linux and embedded Windows OSes. Wyse also offers a software stack compatible with Microsoft, VMware and Citrix virtualized environments.

Desktop virtualization is taking a cloud-like approach, and the traditional concept of the PC being the hub isn’t the case anymore, McNaught said. Dell and Wyse continue to work closely with VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, who are deploying sophisticated tools and are able to deliver an entire user experience to remote clients.

The user interface is better, and the cost of adding a user to a virtualized environment is less, which is making desktop virtualization attractive, McNaught said. Users also have more devices that can be virtual desktops.

“You need a different model to support this explosion of endpoint devices. It’s us supporting, and the market is changing,” McNaught said.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Server 2012 includes an updated version of RDP (remote desktop protocol) which has been licensed and modified by Wyse to enable delivery of touch-based features to remote desktops. The updated RDP protocol doesn’t gobble up a lot of resources, so it is relatively easy to implement, he said.

Dell bought Wyse to become a major vendor in the virtual desktop space, which is still growing, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Dell offered virtual desktop products, but Wyse has a far broader range of assets, including sophisticated management software and related services for provisioning of virtual desktops to a wide range of devices.

“There’s a consensus in the industry that virtualization has made this style of desktop PC provisioning far more attractive operationally than traditional thin clients where each endpoint is tied to an individual server,” King said.

Dell and Wyse seem to be in a good position to profit from the continuing roll-out of Windows 7 among businesses, and Dell’s increasing focus on mid-sized enterprises should provide additional growth opportunities.

“If Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a success, especially as a driver of Windows-based tablet sales, that could spur significant future Dell-Wyse sales,” King said.

McNaught said Wyse is fitting smoothly into Dell, and there could be other opportunities to extend Wyse technology, such as in cloud computing and mobile device management tools. Dell has acquired many companies in the past few years in an effort to build out its product portfolio ranging from hardware to software and services.

“Dell has aggressive revenue goals for us over the next few years,” McNaught said.

Pund-IT’s King said Wyse could focus on virtual desktops in the short-term, but cautioned that in recent years virtual desktops and thin clients have tended to exceed expectations, which could change.

“That seems to be in the process of changing as virtual desktops catch on among companies of every size and offer cloud service providers a valuable market model,” King said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam’s e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Dell to introduce new Wyse thin clients designed for Windows 8 OS

Dell is moving forward with plans to introduce Wyse thin clients designed for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS, just 60 days after Dell acquired the thin-client company.

The devices will be tuned to work with the touch-based Metro user-interface in Windows 8, and the new hardware will be shown at VMware’s VMworld conference in San Francisco between August 26 and 30, said Jeff McNaught, chief strategy and marketing officer of the Wyse business unit at Dell.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS is due for release on tablets and PCs later this year. The OS has improved virtual desktop features and the touch interface that could make thin clients more interactive with a tablet-like usage model, McNaught said. One example would be kiosks, which could capture information better with touch.

McNaught declined to provide details on the type of thin clients Dell would launch, but said the hardware would provide more “finely tuned” experiences based on Windows 8.

Dell’s Wyse unit offers a range of products including thin clients in the form of laptops, monitors and zero-client desktop boxes. Virtual desktops are served to the thin clients either via centralised or virtualised servers, and Wyse also provides desktop virtualisation tools to enable remote desktops. For example, the company provides PocketCloud for tablets and smartphones based on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android so the mobile devices can access files on Windows and Macintosh computers.

Wyse thin clients are based on x86 and ARM processors, and run on the proprietary ThinOS, Linux and embedded Windows OSes. Wyse also offers a software stack compatible with Microsoft, VMware and Citrix virtualised environments.

Desktop virtualisation is taking a cloud-like approach, and the traditional concept of the PC being the hub isn’t the case anymore, McNaught said. Dell and Wyse continue to work closely with VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, who are deploying sophisticated tools and are able to deliver an entire user experience to remote clients.

The user interface is better, and the cost of adding a user to a virtualised environment is less, which is making desktop virtualisation attractive, McNaught said. Users also have more devices that can be virtual desktops.

“You need a different model to support this explosion of endpoint devices. It’s us supporting, and the market is changing,” McNaught said.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Server 2012 includes an updated version of RDP (remote desktop protocol) which has been licensed and modified by Wyse to enable delivery of touch-based features to remote desktops. The updated RDP protocol doesn’t gobble up a lot of resources, so it is relatively easy to implement, he said.

Dell bought Wyse to become a major vendor in the virtual desktop space, which is still growing, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Dell offered virtual desktop products, but Wyse has a far broader range of assets, including sophisticated management software and related services for provisioning of virtual desktops to a wide range of devices.

“There’s a consensus in the industry that virtualisation has made this style of desktop PC provisioning far more attractive operationally than traditional thin clients where each endpoint is tied to an individual server,” King said.

Dell and Wyse seem to be in a good position to profit from the continuing roll-out of Windows 7 among businesses, and Dell’s increasing focus on mid-sized enterprises should provide additional growth opportunities.

“If Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a success, especially as a driver of Windows-based tablet sales, that could spur significant future Dell-Wyse sales,” King said.

McNaught said Wyse is fitting smoothly into Dell, and there could be other opportunities to extend Wyse technology, such as in cloud computing and mobile device management tools. Dell has acquired many companies in the past few years in an effort to build out its product portfolio ranging from hardware to software and services.

“Dell has aggressive revenue goals for us over the next few years,” McNaught said.

Pund-IT’s King said Wyse could focus on virtual desktops in the short-term, but cautioned that in recent years virtual desktops and thin clients have tended to exceed expectations, which could change.

“That seems to be in the process of changing as virtual desktops catch on among companies of every size and offer cloud service providers a valuable market model,” King said.

Dell and Intel Study Concludes IT Consumerization Increases Productivity in the Workplace

ROUND ROCK, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Dell and Intel today released findings from the final phase of a multi-year research effort that shows IT consumerization is dependent on an open-minded approach by organizations, and most likely to succeed with specific, pre-defined parameters. Insights from the Evolving Workforce Research program, which includes feedback from 8,360 workers worldwide and 29 interviews with global experts and senior business leaders, indicate that business leaders see the consumerization of IT – including greater employee input in IT provision, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives and workplace flexibility – as a way to generate additional employee productivity and loyalty. However, while there is growing awareness among organizations that greater flexibility in employee technology choices can enhance productivity, the research also shows that organizations are still grappling with the security challenges and threats this can present.

With a shift towards increased technology choice and mobility occurring over the past three to five years, companies today are striving to better understand the value of creating IT infrastructures which support digitally savvy workers who do not adhere to 9 to 5 routines. By increasing technology choices for the workforce, employees are able to select solutions that suit their preferences and therefore optimize their outputs. But as the report outlines, greater choice in technology and IT decisions gives rise to concerns around established workplace security protocols, namely security risks such as hacking and data loss.

Among the key findings of the report are:

  • Technology choice leads to productivity: there is a growing awareness in the business community that companies can benefit from increased workforce productivity by allowing employees to have some level of choice in what technology they use and the degree of mobility they have. Depending on the individual organization’s circumstances, clear parameters around levels of choice need to be established. It is then that business leaders can better see how technology catered to individual working styles can create efficiency gains and optimize results.
  • Productivity vs. traditional business concerns: companies are clearly trying to determine whether any increased productivity generated from greater technology choice among employees outweighs the associated risks. There is consensus among business leaders that the use of personal devices in the workplace exposes the company to increased security risks and potential data mismanagement. As well as the challenge of measuring productivity levels accurately, businesses are faced with the obstacle of “knowing what data is where and if it’s properly protected.”
  • Changing attitude towards mobility: business leaders accept that the arrival of tablets, smartphones and cloud computing creates the need for companies to challenge themselves to be more mobile-led. Many experts believe that the convergence of applications across devices will foster an even more mobile dependent workforce in the future, meaning that businesses wanting to be more productive must first address legacy concerns in order to be mobile-ready.
  • Employee transparency: the issue of transparency with employees regarding IT decisions that affect them presents a challenge for management, with business leaders noting that if any aspects of a company’s IT consumerization policy are hidden from employee view, they may backfire. They agree that being transparent with employees helps build trust and goes a long way in harnessing the productivity that businesses seek from new technologies and devices.
  • Strategic innovation: in order to stay relevant in a fiercely competitive market and make strategic decisions about operational efficiency, most expert commentators believe that businesses should adopt a smarter, more mobile-centric and integrated approach to IT. This requires businesses to embrace the consumerization of IT with a considered approach and an open mind, working with technology partners to develop tailored solutions that meet the individual requirements of both the organization and employee.

The Evolving Workforce is a global initiative to identify and explore future workplace trends and the role that technology is playing in its evolution. The project has comprised several stages to form an iterative journey of learning began in October 2011 with the Expert Insights report, where seven future trends were introduced alongside commentary from futurists, technologists, analysts and HR professionals. The second report, the Workplace Perspective, summarized the findings of a global survey of 8,360 workers from 11 countries.

The final report in the research series, announced today, captures the point of view of senior business and technology leaders. Report 3: The Business Perspective and Research Summary incorporates insights from global experts, CEOs and CIOs on changing technology use and are summarized in three sub-reports: People, Productivity and Progress. These reports address a number of key questions including how technology is impacting the modern workforce and whether increased mobility leads to greater productivity.

Dell and Intel commissioned TNS Global Research to execute this project. Additional information about the study, in addition to the previous reports, can be accessed at www.dell.com/evolvingworkforce.

Quotes

“The way we work and live around the world is changing rapidly,” said Stephen O’Donnell, CEO, Chalet Tech, Inc. “For most knowledge workers, there is no such thing as 9 to 5 anymore, and time zone differences matter less than ever before. We are living in a time of 24/7 connectivity, where boundaries between work and play are less marked.”

“With today’s increasingly tech-savvy workforce and outcome-driven employees, companies have everything to gain from fully embracing the IT consumerization and mobility trend that is redefining the workplace,” said Adriana Karaboutis, CIO, Dell. “Companies are realizing that by enabling employees to work from a location of their choice using their preferred technology, they are taking one of the single most important steps in motivating business productivity.”

“At Dell, we’re engaging with customers to understand what the end user needs are,” said Steve Felice, president and chief commercial officer, Dell. “As a solution provider, we have expanded our vision beyond what device does the end user have to having consultative conversations with our customers about how data is being accessed, used and secured to find the right solution to help their employees be more productive and drive results.”

“While reinventing the operational landscape through IT can have a positive impact on productivity and employee morale, we shouldn’t lose sight of the challenges that these changes create for the business,” said Ed Goldman, IT CTO, Intel. “Every company will need to find the right balance between implementing changes to bring benefits to employees while matching the strategic objectives of the business.”

Additional Information:

The Evolving Workforce Research Program

Direct2Dell

Enterprise Efficiency

Dell Storify

Facebook Dell Enterprise

Dell Slideshare

Dell Google+

Join the conversation on Twitter @Dell and @DellEnterprise using #workforce

About Dell:

Dell Inc. (DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.

Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

Dell Offers New Laptops With Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Dell is expanding the range of laptops with Linux, with its new Precision mobile workstations being offered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 OS as an option.

The company announced two models, the Precision M4700, which has a 15.6-inch screen, and the Precision M6700, which has a 17.3-inch screen. Dell will offer Windows 7, but is also offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 for specific regions. Dell did not provide information on the countries in which RHEL would be available.

The company over the last few years had scaled down its Linux offerings on laptops, saying the OS is targeted at specialist users. But Linux is staging a comeback on Dell’s laptop, with the company planning to offer the XPS 13 thin-and-light laptop with Ubuntu 12.04, code-named Precise Pangolin, later this year. Dell is also pushing Linux to companies moving away from legacy Unix servers to industry standard servers.

The new Precision laptops run on Intel’s latest third-generation Core i5 and i7 processors code-named Ivy Bridge. With powerful processing capabilities, multiple storage slots, and memory support for up to 32GB, the laptops are for users looking to run demanding graphics and scientific applications.

Dell claims the Precision M6700 is the industry’s “lightest 17-inch mobile workstation.” With a nine-cell battery, the laptop weighs 3.52 kilograms and is priced starting at US$ 2189.

A special M6700 edition called Covet will be available with an optional 3D screen and glasses from graphics company Nvidia, which could be useful for programs such as CAD/CAM. The price for the laptop starts at $ 3,579.

The M4700 weighs roughly 2.78 kilograms with a six-cell battery and is priced starting at $ 1649.

The laptops have optional Nvidia Quadro or Advanced Micro Devices’ FirePro graphics card to boost imaging or scientific applications. The laptops can show images at a high-definition 1920 by 1080-pixel resolution, or buyers can choose lower-resolution screens. Through VGA, HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and DisplayPort video ports, the laptops provide multiple monitor connection options.

The laptops offers three storage slots where users can combine a 512GB solid-state drive, a 256GB SSD and a 750GB hard drive. Standard laptops today come with 256GB SSDs, but newer high-performance laptops are being offered with 512GB SSDs, such as Apple’s latest 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The Precisions have USB 3.0 ports and USB 2.0/eSATA ports, and the laptops can be remotely managed and secured by system administrators through on-chip VPro management technology. The laptops can withstand high temperatures, altitude and shock, according to Dell.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam’s e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Microsoft Honors Dell Services with Eight Partner of the Year Awards

PLANO, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Dell Services received eight Microsoft “Partner of the Year” Awards at the 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto last week. The company was honored for providing outstanding services, demonstrating excellence in innovation and the implementation of global customer solutions based on Microsoft technologies.

In the worldwide award categories, Dell was honored among a global field of 3,000 top Microsoft partners as Public Sector Education Partner of the Year for the Dell Education Data Management Solution. This award recognizes excellence in providing innovative and unique services or solutions based on Microsoft technologies to education customers. Dell was also a Finalist for two additional worldwide awards – the Worldwide Desktop Partner of the Year for innovative Windows 7 deployment solutions and Worldwide Content Management Partner of the Year for SharePoint-based web content management solutions.

In the U.S. market, Dell received two country-wide awards: the Microsoft Windows business team honored Dell as the Windows Deployment Partner of the Year and Microsoft Consulting Services honored Dell as the Services Alliance Partner of the Year.

Also in the U.S., Dell received the highest award in each of Microsoft’s three regions (West, Central and East) with the Enterprise Alliance Partner of the Year awards. These awards recognize the partner that exemplified the overall “best in class” characteristics tied to revenue, marketing, ROI, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and has displayed significant innovation, commitment and overall teaming.

Finally, in the Mid-Atlantic States district, Dell was recognized with two awards. The Dynamics CRM Partner of the Year award recognized Dell for working innovatively to produce exceptional results across its Microsoft Dynamics practice. Additionally, Dell was recognized as the Virtual Technical Sales Professional (VTSP) Partner of the Year in this region for advanced Microsoft specialization and a VTSP practice that has demonstrated technical leadership and driven significant impact for customers.

Quotes

“Microsoft is pleased to recognize Dell’s commitment to education customers within the public sector by awarding Education Partner of the Year,” said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft Corporation. “We are recognizing Dell because of its dedication to education and commitment to building solutions that serve the education community, such as the Education Data Management solution (EDM). As an integrated information management system for educational institutions, EDM transforms high-quality data into actionable knowledge that can be used to improve educational outcomes and track student information over multiple years (PK-20), across multiple schools, between organizations, and even into the workforce.”

“The global stage at WPC is ideally suited for recognizing this outstanding caliber of partners with Microsoft’s 2012 Field Partner Awards,” said Jack Braman, vice president, East Region Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners, Microsoft Corporation. “These partners have served their customers with such incredible focus, passion, and ingenuity this past fiscal year that we want to share how extraordinary they are.”

“Dell and Microsoft have a successful history of working together to deliver world-class information technology solutions that help our customers grow and thrive. Dell and Microsoft have never been so aligned and we are greatly honored to be recognized for our collaboration with Microsoft to deliver end-to-end offerings for our customers across vertical markets,” said Kevin Jones, vice president, Dell Services.

About DELL

Dell Inc. (DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. Dell Services develops and delivers a comprehensive suite of services and solutions in applications, business process, consulting, infrastructure and support to help customers succeed. Learn more at www.dell.com.

Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

Dell's cloud analytics service plans slip behind schedule

Dell announced an aggressive schedule last year to roll out cloud-based application services, but it now looks like the schedule was a little too aggressive.

Dell said last August that it planned to launch an online analytics service in the first half of this year for small and midsized businesses, but that service isn’t due now until early next year, a Dell executive said.

“Like a lot of development projects, it can take a bit longer than you think,” Paulette Altmaier, general manager of Dell’s Cloud Business Applications group, said in an interview Thursday.

Dell also said it would launch a platform-as-a-service offering this year based on Microsoft’s Azure platform. On Friday, a Dell spokeswoman said the company no longer has a delivery date for that service.

The delays are a setback for Dell, which is trying to reduce its dependence on PCs and build more profitable businesses in services and software. But a lot of companies are moving slowly to the cloud, so the hold-up isn’t a disaster, said Peter ffoulkes, an industry analyst with 451 Research Group.

“The move to the cloud is not a fast journey and for most people it is still largely a future. I would not expect a quarter or two to make a big difference in practical terms,” he said.

Dell has also made a string of software acquisitions in the past year that might be causing it to rethink its software-as-a-service strategy. It updated press and analysts on its software plans Thursday.

When it does arrive, the analytics service will offer “cross-app” analytics, meaning customers will be able to import data from one or more applications to a data warehouse that Dell will host for them online, and then perform analysis on that data.

The apps will be linked using Dell’s Boomi integration software, which can tie together cloud, on-premise and custom-built apps. The data warehouse will use a mix of open-source software and technology built in-house by Dell, Altmaier said.

Dell does offer some cloud services today, including an infrastructure-as-a-service offering. It also offers hosted Salesforce.com services, and hosted e-document and e-signature services.

Eventually, Dell will offer more applications, mostly through partners. But it’s going to start by offering those other applications in developing markets, rather than the US and Europe, Altmaier said.

“Over time you’d expect to see us add human resources, finance, ERP – the whole range of apps. Some will be from Dell but we will also have a lot of partners,” she said.

Developing countries are a better place to start because a lot of small businesses there can’t afford to build their own infrastructure and will jump directly to the cloud, she said.

“We’re in the process of figuring out how should we enter these markets, and what’s the best strategy for Dell,” Altmaier said.

Dell wins U.S. antitrust approval to buy Quest Software

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dell Inc has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy IT management company Quest Software Inc, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

Dell had said in early July that it would buy Quest for $ 2.4 billion to expand its software business and reduce dependence on the declining personal computer market.

The FTC put the transaction on a list of deals that it and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division have been able to approve quickly. The list is issued several times a week.

Dell sparked a bidding war in June when it offered $ 25.50 per share for Quest, an enterprise management software maker, topping an initial offer by private investment firm Insight Venture Partners in March of $ 23 per share.

Dell has been diversifying recently, giving up low-margin sales to consumers and moving into higher-margin areas, such as catering to the technology needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the public sector and the healthcare industry.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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