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Dell goes direct into Wal-Mart's clutches

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The dream of walking into a single store to purchase a messenger style diaper bag, an easy listening Piano Tribute to Coldplay CD, an engagement ring and a Dell computer for under $1,000 has become a reality.

Dell peered into consumer hearts and materialized this secret fancy with mega chain, Wal-Mart. The PC vendor, which has until now relied solely on direct sales is offering its wares at 3,500 Wal-Mart stores in the United States and Canada as of June 10.

Wal-Mart will sell two Dimension desktop bundles currently available through Dell direct for under $700. Dell will offer Dimension E521 desktops without a monitor and E521s with a 19-inch flat panel on store shelves.

Dell has been promising to "ramp up" retailer and reseller partnerships worldwide to combat lost sales to computer makers such as HP and Lenovo who offer their products in stores. Last year, Hewlett-Packard overtook Dell as the No. 1 computer seller worldwide.

The company makes a point on its blog that retail offerings will not replace its core direct business model, even though more retail announcements are coming.

Dell Ubuntu systems unveiled

Rumor-hounds have had a rough idea of the systems Dell would vend loaded with Ubuntu — but now they're officially official.

Two desktop models and a laptop will be sold, factory installed with the open-source operating system. The XPS 410n (starting price: $849), Dimension E520n desktop and Inspiron E1505n notebook (both starting at $599) will be available today from Dell with the Ubuntu 7.04 Linux distribution.

A XPS 410 with Windows currently starts at $899 at Dell. A $50 markdown is a small, but welcome sight to Linux fans who were actually paying paying more for the free operating system over Windows during Dell's original short-lived Linux offering in 2000.

Dell said the Linux systems will be available on their website to US customers beginning today. ®

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