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Dell pumps $8.5 billion into Samsung for LCDs

Investment to fund new production plant, keep Dell supplied during glut

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Dell today followed Apple's example and pumped a pile of cash into Samsung to ensure the direct PC vendor gets as many LCD screens as it needs over the next five years. That said, Dell's investment dwarfs Apple's. In August, the Mac maker sent Samsung a cheque for $100 million -- Dell's comes to $8.5 billion. Samsung will use the cash injection to finance the construction of a new LCD production facility and to "continue its research to improve the technology", the company said. In return, Dell will be supplied with Samsung LCD products for the next five years, and for that kind of money you can expect Dell to come top of the customer list. With LCD screens currently in very short supply, that should considerably improve Dell's ability to ship notebooks and LCD monitors. That was Apple's motivation: to ensure it had sufficient displays to allow its supply of iBook consumer-oriented notebook to meet demand. Such a shame, then, that iBook OEM AlphaTop's production of the portable has been badly hit by the Taiwanese earthquake. Ah, bitter irony... Demand for LCDs is certainly growing at a massive rate. Samsung reckons orders for LCD panels to nearly double over the next 12 months, from four million this year to seven million during 2000. Samsung said LCD sales for 1999 should exceed $2.1 billion, well up on 1998's $850 million. ® Related Stories CRT displays -- not as dead as you'd think Samsung slips laptops its 16.5in whopper

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