Dell blows hundreds of millions on image overhaul

Dell has said it is to spend "hundreds and hundreds of millions" on a marketing makeover to shed its image as a cheaper alternative to competitors like Apple.

Dell still managed to cling on to the number two spot in global PC sales in Q3 this year with 23.1 per cent of the pie according to figures recently released by market analyst IDC - but its market share fell nearly five per cent against the same period last year.

Rival Apple is fast thundering up behind, with year-on-year growth in computer sales of 24.1 per cent putting it in third position, with a 10.6 per cent slice of the market.

Clearly, Apple's careful brand management is paying dividends - and Dell wants to take a leaf out of the Cupertino company's book.

"We're going to stop mentioning price as the single important aspect," said Paul-Henri Ferrand, chief marketing officer of Dell's global consumer and small and home business division.

Dell said that its strategy would be to shift the focus from cheaper bread-and-butter products to emphasise the company's premium offerings.

The change in direction will be spearheaded by a global advertising campaign, timed to coincide with the launch of a raft of new products.

Among the slew of new tablets to be announced on Monday is the Inspiron Duo, a laptop PC that converts into a 10in tablet. The new Windows 7 device is based around an Intel Atom N550 and is expected to support next-gen WiMAX wireless networking.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs used the opportunity of Apple's 'Back to the Mac' event yesterday to take a swipe at the expected rash of 7-inch tablet offerings hoping to rival the company's iPad, labelling them "dead on arrival"