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Dell beat itself in the first quarter

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Dell today posted strong first quarter results, showing gains across all product lines and geographies.

Dell's performance has started to become a bit ho-hum with the company consistently growing faster than rivals. For the first quarter, Dell reported revenue of $11.5bn - a 21 percent year-over-year gain. This total beat out Dell's own guidance, provided last month, of $11.4bn in revenue for the period. Dell patted itself on the back for this achievement.

"The company has now met or exceeded guidance to investors for 13 straight quarters," Dell said in a statement. Why companies consider it a stunning success to beat out their own, conservative guidance, we'll never know.

Dell posted earnings of $731m in the quarter - 22 percent higher than last year's total of $598m. Earnings per share hit 28 cents versus 23 cents last year.

"In our industry, only Dell simultaneously creates great customer value, rapid growth and solid profitability," said Kevin Rollins, Dell's president and chief operating officer. "Others sometimes do one or two of those things. Our global team and our shareholders insist on all three."

Go on, don't be modest.

Overall, Dell saw product shipments rise 25 percent year-over-year. The company enjoyed 38 percent growth in the Asia/Pacific region and 37 percent growth in EMEA. The US market grew at a slower 18 percent clip. On the product front, Dell posted 24 percent growth in server units shipped, while storage revenue grew 25 percent. Desktop sales rose 21 percent, and notebook sales rose 39 percent.

But Dell's favorite category to talk about is printers. "Printers are the fastest growing product line in Dell history," Rollins said.

In one year, Dell has managed to capture 10 percent market share of inket printers and "upper teens" share in all-in-one printers. Dell, of course, loses some of this revenue to partner Lexmark, but overall this growth is a big win against HP. Rollins said he expects HP to lower prices to compete against Dell. Dell's software and peripheral business, which includes printers, grew revenue 39 percent. The company already sells printers in the US, Europe and Australia and plans to start selling product in Japan next quarter.

Dell warned that memory prices could hurt it in the coming quarter. In addition, Dell said that flat panel supplies were tight. For the second quarter, Dell expects products shipments to increase 24 percent, leading to revenue of $11.7bn. ®

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