Dell Desktop Disty Agreement To Include Monitors

The first Dell PCs available through distributors will include a choice of either a 17-inch or 19-inch monitor, according to the company.

The Round Rock, Texas-based vendor plans to bundle a Dell E1709W or Dell 1909W display with the 11 configurations of Vostro desktops, the company said.

The Vostro 220 Mini Tower Productivity Package comes with a Dell 19-inch Widescreen S1909WXF Flat Panel; the entire bundle costs $419, according to Dell's Web site. The same package is available with a Dell 22-inch Widescreen E228WFP Analog Flat Panel Display, which retails for $569. The E1709W 17-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor starts at $139 and goes up to $318.

Dell's new distribution strategy doesn't mean that other display manufacturers, such as Samsung Electronics America, Viewsonic or NEC Display Solutions, should be running scared, said Chris Connery, vice president of the PC and Large Format Commercial Display Market Group at DisplaySearch.

Sponsored post

It's too early to tell if Dell will be able to shake share away from channel competitors for bundled desktops and monitors or gain sales from standalone products.

Connery points out that Samsung is the overall top marketshare leader of standalone monitors. "But historically, if you look at HP, they sell the most monitors in the channel because they sell the most desktops," Connery said. "Dell is giving up some control and there is the risk of trading off increased desktop sales vs. monitors. It remains to be seen what their attach rate will be."

Jeff Volpe, vice president and general manager, ViewSonic, was diplomatic, saying only that Dell's decision is a "sound strategy," and noted that it is one that ViewSonic has been practicing for 20 years. "Both ViewSonic and our resellers will benefit from this by having the option to bundle a wide array of ViewSonic monitors and projectors with Dell PCs and notebooks, something they have already been doing with HP's products," said Volpe.

Samsung Electronics America executives were unavailable for comment, according to a spokesperson. However, the company did issue a statement attributed to Richard Hutton, senior channel manager for Samsung Electronics America, who noted that Samsung is "100 percent channel focused" and Dell's announcement is an endorsement of the VAR channel.

Several VARs said they weren't totally shocked by Dell's new strategy -- there had been rumblings for a while, but as one anonymous reseller said, "It definitely has raised some eyebrows and we'll keep a close eye on this -- can they move more products through multi-tier distribution? We're going to sit back and see what happens."

Another solution provider, who also asked not to be named, was less flattering.

"I think this shows that Dell is getting more desperate. They're trying to find any channel to help them -- they even sell through Wal-Mart. Now, they're finally reaching out to the channel because they realized that direct selling isn't working," he said. "What is surprising is that they don't maintain inventory. They build to order. This is a risk they're taking because they're taking on more costs."