After Dell lost their spot as king of the hill last year, along with continuing to lose ground to Apple and HP, they have been looking for new avenues to expand growth. And as a result they have made many changes to their offerings which we've seen quite readily. From offering Linux on more desktops to offering greener computing, they have been expanding their audience in many new ways.
They are also looking for more resellers. Recently, they have added Staples to their list of stores carrying their products, whether it be online or in a store. They are also going back on their sales model of having display units in stores with purchases actually occurring online:
To try and reverse this slide, Dell flirted with the failed Gateway model of retail sales without retail inventory where customers would play with display models and then order a computer from Dell.com. However, this effort has clearly not produced the kinds of results Dell was hoping for.
It was actually a lack of retail presence that initially gave Dell an advantage over their competitors. Times have changed, and up until recently they have had trouble adapting. More retail presence will probably mean more sales, so perhaps next year we will see them reclaiming what they have lost to HP.