Dell, like everyone else, was affected by hard drive shortages resulting from flooding in Thailand, which may have played a role in revenue falling flat during the company's fiscal third quarter of 2011. If nothing else, the "complexity in working through the industry-wide hard drive issue" has Dell trending towards the lower end of the range of its revenue outlook of 1 to 5 percent growth for its full fiscal year, the company said.
Dell reported revenue of $15.4 billion in its third quarter, which is actually a few dollars lower than what it was one year prior, though reported as a zero percent change (just a $29,000 drop). Other numbers trended on the positive side, such as earnings per share (up 17 percent GAAP and 20 percent non-GAAP), operating income (up 12 percent GAAP and up 10 percent non-GAAP), and $4.7 billion in enterprise solutions and services, which is an all-time high for Dell.
"Our results this quarter and over the past year reflect a new Dell, one focused on providing our customers productivity-enhancing solutions either developed organically or acquired," said Michael Dell , chairman and CEO. "We’re now investing in research and development activities at almost a billion-dollar annual run rate and our earnings per share is up 86 percent over the last 12 months."
Dell saw a 6 percent decline in consumer revenue, which fell to $2.8 billion in the third quarter. However, the company's higher end products performed well, and in particular Dell's high-end XPS consumer laptop business, which grew 207 percent. XPS revenue now accounts for 20 percent of Dell's total consumer laptop business, the OEM said.
Looking ahead, Dell believes it's "on track for another outstanding year."