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Dell continued to bound along in its fourth quarter, posting growth rates that far exceed those of rivals.

For the period ended January 30, Dell reported $11.5 billion in revenue - an 18 percent hike over the $9.7 billion reported a year ago. Dell also posted net income of $749 million in this year's fourth quarter versus $603 million last year.

For the full year, Dell pulled in $41 billion - a 17 percent year-on-year rise. Net income for the year was $2.6 billion or a 25 percent jump over $2.1 billion last year.

Dell attributed the growth to strong server and storage sales. Server shipments rose 40 percent year-on-year in the forth quarter and storage revenue rose 47 percent.

Dell's nearest rivals have seen modest gains in their PC and server businesses over the past two quarters. Competitors such as Sun Microsystems, HP and IBM could, however, show improvement in future quarters if an increase in IT spending holds. The three companies tend to benefit more when customers are in the market for big ticket systems.

Dell is confident that it can hold its own in the coming quarter. It forecasted revenue of $11.2 billion for the first fiscal quarter of 2005 with shipments increasing 20 percent. ®

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