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Five More Years

11:50 AM -- So much for the speculation that Dell is looking to dump its storage partner EMC.

The five-year extension of Dell's deal with EMC to sell Clariion midrange SAN systems, announced yesterday, has been put to rest -- for now, anyway -- amongst whispers that all may not be well in the partnership. That talk peaked last April when EMC signed an OEM deal with Intel, and Dell was believed to be forging a deal for low-end direct attached storage systems with LSI Logic. (See EMC, Intel Forge SAN Deal and Engenio Lowers Its Sights.)

But EMC and Dell still need each other. With the SMB market gaining in importance, EMC needs Dell as a channel partner more than ever. During EMC's two straight disappointing quarters, revenue from sales through Dell held steady. (See Can Alcatel & Lucent Avoid an IMS Mess?.) Dell needs to keep its ship as steady as possible now, as the Department of Justice and the SEC peer into its accounting practices. (See Dell Delays Filing.)

What's more, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins has more important things to worry about than plotting any new storage strategies. After an hour-long presentation on technology and distribution plans at Dell's Technology Day Tuesday, the first two questions for Rollins from the media were about the chances of Dell being delisted by the SEC and Rollins's job status. That prompted chairman Michael Dell to step in and defend his successor as CEO.

"Any speculation on that is completely useless," Dell says. "It's not going to happen. I believe Kevin is an outstanding executive. Kevin and I run the business together. If you want to blame somebody, blame me."

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