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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

5. Reboot Camp

Dell (DELL) has its marching orders.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC giant got the go-ahead this week on a big U.S. Army supply contract. The Defense Department agreed to buy computers, displays, printers and peripherals from Dell and others under the so-called Army Desktop Mobile Computing-2 contract. All told, the deal could be worth $5 billion over 10 years.

The pact was announced this spring but was put on hold while the government considered an appeal from Gateway (GTW), federal contracting site reports, adding that Gateway, which didn't get a share of the contract, dropped its case last month.

That news was well received at Dell, which of late has had precious little good news to report. The company has repeatedly missed financial targets and announced a huge laptop-battery recall. This week it got a delisting notice from the Nasdaq.

But the setbacks certainly haven't dimmed Dell's sense of importance.

"Because of our long history and direct relationship with the U.S. Army, we have a thorough understanding of its technology requirements, both domestically and abroad," said Troy West, vice president of Dell's federal business segment.

And shrugging off the inconvenient fact that eight other companies share the contract, including rival Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and CDW (CDWC), West adds that Dell is "uniquely positioned to support the Army's global needs."

Or at least uniquely proud of itself.

Dumb-o-Meter score: 80. Something here doesn't compute.

To watch Colin Barr's video take of this column, click here .

In our award-winning effort to enrich the reader experience, the Five Dumbest Things Lab now scores each item using our proprietary Dumb-o-Meter. This cutting-edge technology employs a finely calibrated, 100-point scale measuring sheer Dumbness, as calculated via a closely guarded secret formula.

Got your own idea for the dumbest thing of the week? Let us know.

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