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Dell doubles profit to $1.02 billion

The PC maker barely misses Wall Street expectations on revenue, but rebounding enterprise sales help bring in its highest earnings per share ever for the third quarter.

Is Dell on the rebound? Its fiscal third-quarter 2011 profit suggests perhaps it is.

The Round Rock, Texas, company barely missed on revenue expectations: Analysts were looking for revenue between $15.42 billion and $16.02 billion, but it came in at $15.4 billion. Dell's profit, however, doubled from the same time last year.

Dell reported today it made $1.02 billion during the third quarter this year, compared to the $577 million in profit it made in the fiscal third quarter 2010. That's equivalent to 42 cents per share, a record for Dell in the third quarter.

Dell CEO Michael Dell had said earlier this year as his company struggled that he might consider taking the company private. When CFO Brian Gladden was pressed on that point today he was very direct in his response:"We have no plans to take the company private. Period."

On a call with reporters, Gladden emphasized the improvements Dell had made in the quarter. The company's large enterprise, small and medium business, and public sector divisions all saw growth greater than 20 percent during the quarter. The consumer business is the only one that continues to lag, increasing its revenue just 4 percent.

The consumer business, which accounts for just 20 percent of Dell revenue, is struggling with what Gladden termed "muted consumer demand."

It's continued from the previous quarter, he said. "We'll continue to manage that."

The consumer unit is undergoing some recent changes, including reshuffling the product lineup and launching a new worldwide branding campaign. There's also been some executive turnover--the former head of the consumer unit who had been transferred to a newly created mobile division, Ron Garriques, will leave the company in January, Dell announced yesterday in an SEC filing.

"We're making progress on consumer, but we do still have work to do there," Gladden admitted.

"Enterprise solutions is at the heart of where we're driving the strategy."

Dell is forecasting its fiscal 2011 revenue to come in between 14 percent and 19 percent higher than 2010.

Updated at 2:55 p.m PT with quotes from the call with analysts.