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IT Execs Report Signs Of Consistent Sales Growth

Business is back -- but IT and channel companies aren't yet dancing a jig, and executives say they will be cautious and targeted in their focus marching into 2004.

Speaking at the Raymond James IT Supply Chain Conference Thursday in New York, chiefs and finance executives from several companies said they will continue looking at higher-end businesses and higher margins, even as they report seeing signs of consistent IT sales growth.

"We can see the market picking up," said James Schneider, CFO of Dell Computer, the Round Rock, Texas-based direct PC maker. "I'm pretty happy. It's a lot better environment to be working in than we've had for a while.

"We have seen five consecutive quarters where we have seen good year-over-year growth," Schneider said. "So we believe the market has turned."

He added that Dell's customers "are looking for standards on enterprise products," and that it grew its EMC/Dell external-storage business by 30 percent in the third quarter of 2003 compared with the same period last year. "What we did in the last quarter was grow in a very disciplined manner," Schneider said.

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