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Aside from demand for Apple’s computers, consumer demand for PCs has cratered in the U.S. and Europe. Although consumers make up less than 20 percent of Dell’s revenue, they remain a powerful force in the digital economy. By snapping up iPads and smartphones, consumers are demonstrating that some hot new technologies _ just not PCs _ can be strong sellers even in hard economic times.

Dell shares fell 25 cents to $15.38 in after-hours trading after the company reported its results. They’d risen 31 cents, or 2 percent, to finish regular trading at $15.63.