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IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 8

Today's headlines: The Microsoft Gurus are coming to retail, and IBM dives into solid-state storage.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Monday, Sept. 8, 2008.

Microsoft reps coming to retailers

Microsoft's $300 million marketing campaign against Apple is heading to retail outlets. The company is putting customer service representatives at Best Buy, Circuit City and other stores to help customers buying PCs, according to the Associated Press. The strategy evokes the "Genius Bars" that are found in Apple stores. Microsoft said it will have 155 "Microsoft Gurus" in stores by the end of the year.

IBM trusts in solid-state technology

IBM is releasing more than 30 new and updated products and services, relying on Flash solid-state technology instead of tape or disk drives, Reuters reported today. The technology also uses deduplication technology that helps users store less redundant data. Solid state technology has been around for some time, but it had been cost-prohibitive until it became Flash-based. IBM's new solid-state technology is meant to greatly increase capacity for the ever-growing load of enterprise data at a reasonable cost. IBM is one of the few major manufacturers to push into flash solid-state technology, analysts said.

Dell outsourcing faces hurdles

Dell's decision to outsource PC manufacturing to third parties has caused a stir. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Dell is talking to contract manufacturers in a bid to sell its factories in the next 18 months. Dell, which once led the PC market, faces strong competition from Hewlett-Packard -- especially in the popular laptop category. HP boasts higher margins and last year widened its lead as the top seller of PCs worldwide. For the second quarter of 2008, HP maintained the top spot in new PC shipments with 18.1% share, and Dell was second with 15.6%, according to preliminary Gartner numbers.

More than half of Dell's manufacturing real estate is in the U.S. More than 20% is in Asia, and the rest is in Europe.

Nokia market share slips

Nokia's stock price fell 7.6% Friday after the cell phone maker announced its third-quarter global market share declined, thanks to aggressive pricing by competitors, according to the Associated Press. Nokia said it made a "tactical decision" not to match its competitors' prices -- a move necessary to maintain long-term sustainability. Still, Nokia remained positive about the future, saying it planned to gain market share for the year. The company's stock price has plunged about 40% this year.

Check out Friday's IT channel news.

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