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Dell's Profit, Stock Drop On Weak Quarterly Report

JORDAN ROBERTSON

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ¿ Some of the computer industry's biggest players ¿ such as IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. ¿ have wowed Wall Street this fall with stronger-than-expected profits.

Dell Inc. didn't join them Thursday.

The company reported a 54 percent drop in net income and a 15 percent decline in revenue in its latest quarter, both steeper than analysts had forecast.

Dell's shares fell $1.43, or 9 percent, to $14.44 in morning trading Friday.

The numbers show that Dell isn't fully benefiting from the industry's fledgling recovery, even though the company is seeing improvement in some areas.

"We are already seeing more client activity in the last 30 to 60 days than we have in a long time," Michael Dell, the company's CEO, said on a conference call with analysts.

Dell has been hurt more than its peers because of tightened spending by corporations and large government agencies, which make up 80 percent of Dell's revenue.

Meanwhile, rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Acer Inc. have boosted their market share by exploiting their bigger presence in retail stores. That has been a big weapon because consumer interest in little laptops called "netbooks" has helped the PC industry start to pull out of its worst slump in years.

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