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The new Dell : How one month changed the biggest PC manufacturer forever

During the past few weeks, Dell Inc. has been constantly in the limelight and in five strikes, the Old Dell has transformed into a new, sleeker and less conservative mammoth.

First, Dell has finally agreed to ship computers based on Intel's arch rival, AMD. AMD has finally gathered enough momentum to make it a viable alternative to Intel.

One reason for this move is due partly to the fact that competitors in the highly lucrative server segment have been catching up on Dell because they used the more powerful AMD Opteron processors.

Dell also purchased Alienware, a specialist Gamer PC manufacturer, back in the beginning of May; this was their first acquisition since 2000. One of Alienware’s attractions was something that even money cannot buy; a fanatic following. Alienware customers are not only wealthy but more than a few are trend setters and early adopters, willing to take technological risks.

Last week Dell announced that they were going to launch two US-based brick-and-mortar stores in order to let people to handle, touch and feel Dell products. Others in the past have tried it. Gateway, at some point, opened dozens of retail stores, only to be hit by flagging sales and high operating costs. Dell has defended its no-store approach for quite some time now as its direct sales paradigm, which was Dell's original unique selling point.

But even this has come under fire. The Channel Insider reported not so long ago that Dell was secretly selling to Value Added Resellers (VARs) who are the middlemen that Dell has accused for so long of inflating prices. The end result being that Dell computers are no longer only sold by Dell. In fact there have always been several UK retailers out there who sell Dell computers alongside other brands such as Aria, BT, SterlingXS and Ebuyer.

Last but not least, Dell has announced a strategic alliance with Google and has started bundling Google software with its computers, paving the way for a GoogleOS should one ever see the light

These five sudden changes are not typical of Dell, prompting analysts to wonder whether the upper management of the computer giant are not reacting too sharply to their recent abrupt share price fall.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.