Dell to move away from direct sales, partner with 3rd party distributors

Dell has traditionally always sold its products direct to consumer, to the extent that its sales figures often aren't factored into retail-based PC marketshare figures. That could all be about to change (for reals this time) as the company plans to move away from its strict direct-to-customer sales approach with a move towards selling PCs through third parties including retail stores, "solution providers," and "channel partners." The change was apparently first hinted at in a memo from Michael Dell, who says "the direct model was a revolution. It's not a religion." Not that we've ever imagined Dell's sales strategy as the consumer electronics equivalent of the Bible (nor the little red book for that matter), but it'll still be pretty hard to envisage going into a mall and seeing Dells next to other brand name PCs: aside from the occasional sighting of a Dell kiosk, it's just not what we're used to. Fortunately the company's tentative steps in the direction of more aesthetically pleasing designs means that there hasn't been a better time for Dell to dive headfirst into retail. So, do you think Dell has got what it takes to go retail? 'Cause dude, it's a warzone out there.