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Michael Dell pushes governments to invest in IT

Developing countries can improve lives of their citizens with fast networks and better access to PCs, he says. Photo: Michael Dell at WCIT

AUSTIN, Texas--Dell Chairman Michael Dell called on delegates at the World Congress on Information Technology to make sure their country's leaders understand the importance of IT to economic growth.

"Governments should set a goal (such) that anyone who wants to access modern IT should be able to get it," Dell said, kicking off the second full day of the WCIT conference here on Thursday. Delegates are gathered in Austin, about 20 miles south of Dell's Round Rock, Texas, headquarters, in part to debate proposals for improving access to digital technology, the subject of Dell's keynote.

Michael Dell at WCIT

Speakers on Tuesday focused on how private industry and governments need to work together to bring fast Internet connections and modern PCs to new parts of the world. But Dell zeroed in on proposals specifically for leaders of countries that could use more processing power.

"Successful nations need people with 21st-century skills; with the ability to fully utilize the tools of the modern age," he said. To that end, Dell called on governments to allow multiple competitive broadband providers to set up shop in their countries and to allow foreign investors to compete alongside domestic companies.

He also advocated government reduction of taxes on IT goods and services, which of course would make products like Dell PCs and servers cheaper to obtain. Dell is the worldwide leader in PC shipments, but its main advantage is in its home country. It trails Hewlett-Packard in both Europe and Asia, and it is also behind Lenovo in Asia, according to IDC.

Unlike , Dell took a few questions from the delegates after his address. During his speech, he briefly noted his company's recent announcement that it has joined The Green Grid, an Advanced Micro Devices-backed industry group that is working on ways to reduce power consumption in the data center. But in response to a question, Dell gave no signs that his company planned to build servers with AMD's processors, which than Intel's current server processors.

He also dodged a question about Dell's stock price, which has been on the decline in recent weeks as investors have become concerned about the company's ability to grow. "We've had a pretty remarkable track record, but there's no linear path to success," he said.