What's Dell Doing at Wal-Mart?

The author, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, wonders whether the computer maker's latest experiment will work

Last week, Dell announced that it would begin selling two Dimension desktop computers through Wal-Mart Stores. It was a watershed moment. For years, Dell embraced the tagline "Be Direct," a phrase that highlighted one the company's main differentiators: It sells directly to consumers rather than by way of retailers. The Wal-Mart deal, limited as it is, represents the most visible departure from the company's hallowed mantra.

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