Dell's confidence contrasts markedly with Compaq (CPQ-NYSE). The PC maker, in the throes of uncertainty caused by its proposed merger with Hewlett-Packard, predicts a loss per share of 5 cents to 7 cents on revenue of $7.4 billion to $7.5 billion for its third quarter. In July, it forecast a profit of 7 cents to 9 cents per share on sales of $8 billion to $8.4 billion. Compaq CEO and chairman Michael Capellas blames the shortfall on the Sept. 11 attacks and merger uncertainty, as well as logistical woes from the attacks and a typhoon in Taiwan.
Beyond the current quarter, Dell president and chief operating officer Kevin Rollins says an uptick in IT spending is coming as the replacement cycle arrives for equipment bought in 1999 for Y2K preparation and upgrades postponed this year finally go through.
However, Compaq's Capellas is skeptical that anyone can accurately make such a prediction. "Though we have constant dialogue with our partners and customers," he says, "seeing the future in too-specific terms is pretty tough right now."