Dell CFO Speaks of Elongated Corporate Refresh Cycle

Dell Inc. is counting on a refresh cycle to wash over enterprise PCs and servers. In recent comments, company CEO Michael Dell has been bullish about prospects for an 18-month cycle beginning in early 2010.

Now, though, a note of circumspection has crept into the comments of Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer.

While speaking at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference today, Gladden said he expected the holiday season to be “moderately good” for sales of PCs. Of greater interest were the following remarks he made pertaining to the corporate refresh cycle, which Gladden sees spanning everything from “servers all the way through client products.”

Said the Dell CFO:

“Their (enterprise customers) asset base has aged much beyond what they had expected. Our view is sometime next year you will start to see that (refresh) happen.

“We are surprised at how good demand has been over the last few weeks. The hypothesis of a corporate refresh is still alive. It’s just a question of when does that happen and how long. I think you will see an elongated cycle of refresh.”

Elongated. That means “unusually long in relation to its width.” Its synonyms are extended, prolonged, protracted, and stretched. You have been warned.

At least Gladden didn’t invoke the word “attenuated.” Let’s hope that one doesn’t slip out the next time a Dell executive attends an investment bank’s technology conference.

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