- Associated Press - Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dell Inc.’s fiscal second-quarter earnings jumped 16 percent as companies and public-sector organizations spent more than they did a year ago on computers, servers and other technology. Revenue rose 22 percent to $15.5 billion, slightly more than Wall Street was expecting.

But that strength did not carry over into Dell’s consumer PC sales. Revenue in that segment was flat compared with last year’s quarter.

Dell says consumer demand for new computers petered out in the second half of the quarter, and that the back-to-school shopping season has been weaker than expected.

During a conference call, one analyst wanted to know whether Apple Inc.’s popular new iPad could cut into consumer PC sales in the future. CEO Michael Dell responded _ but didn’t utter the words “Apple” or “iPad.”

QUESTION: What impact do you think the iPad _ and other upcoming tablet computers _ could have on PC sales to consumers in the second half of the year?

RESPONSE: “I think it is a question of how many tablets do you think will be sold. If the PC market is 380 million units and the tablet market is _ take a guess. I’m not sure it’s a huge percentage this year. Certainly there is a lot of excitement around Android (Google Inc.’s smart phone software, which may also run on tablets), and we are participating in that. Lots of folks (are) working on tablets and touch type solutions. I think next year you will see a lot more of them.”