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Dell to Bundle Skype on new XPS Laptops

Skype and Dell agreed today to ship Skype's video Internet calling software as an option to Dell's new XPS mobile systems, the XPS M1210 and XPS M2010.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dell will offer to pre-load Skype on the XPS 1210 and 2010 as part of an optional audio-video communications package that also includes an integrated rotating webcam, noise-isolation earbuds and mobile broadband capability. The M1210 features a 12.1-inch display and retails for $1,300. The M2010 features a 20.1-inch high-definition display and retails for $3,500

The move comes just after Dell agreed on Thursday to pre-install Google's search application for scouring a computer hard drive and emails, and a Web browser toolbar linking to Google's online search engine and other services. The applications would be accessible through a side pane on Internet Explorer 6, the current version of Microsoft's Web browser.

While that relationship could be a big win for Dell, the Skype deal could backfire for the computer manufacturer. IT has been widely fearful of Skype's architecture as users booting up Skype could compromise their corporate network.

"IT is petrified that users will become a Skype SuperNode and forward unknown users through their enterprise PCs onto the corporate networks," says David Passmore, research director at the Burton Group.

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