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The beleaguered PC giant has added its Latitude laptop range to its open source n-series offering.

Dell offers OS-free laptops

Post Kevin Rollins Dell has apparently transformed into a more open minded, consultative outfit. It now offers Direct2Dell – a forum for dialogue between the company and the outside world – and Dell Ideastorm – a public brainstorming initiative.

The most popular topic on these forums appears to have been the subject of Linux and has led Dell to offer OS-free laptops for the first time.

The Latitude brand joins the Dimension and OptiPlex offerings in the open source n-series and marks a further departure from the Intel and Microsoft based model on which the first incarnation of Dell founded its success.

Writing on direct2dell.com Matt Domsch, Linux Software Architect at Dell, said “As with other n-Series products, Dell hasn’t tested any particular Linux distribution and doesn’t offer software support for running Linux on these.”

Meanwhile, a leading technology analyst has speculated that Dell could buy Acer to give it an instant presence in the global indirect market.

Quoted on tech website The Register, Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said that Dell could revive its fortunes by purchasing Acer, which has a market capitalisation of around $4 billion, thus getting better access to Asian and European markets, a stronger notebook line and a massive indirect sales channel.

"A combined Dell-Acer would enjoy leading share in nearly every major region of the world,” Sacconaghi wrote in a research note, adding it would have “Strong products in both the notebook and desktop segments, and far-reaching distribution through both direct and indirect channels."

"While we have no evidence that a Dell-Acer combination is being considered by either party, we do believe such a move could make strategic and financial sense," Sacconaghi said. "We believe Acer could help Dell address many of the challenges it currently faces, but would represent a significant departure from Dell’s historical track record of acquisitions and from its 100 per cent direct selling model."

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