Dell warns of a global hard drive shortage

DELL’S quarterly revenue just missed Wall Street estimates last night, and the world’s third-biggest personal computer maker warned that full-year revenue could be hurt by an industry-wide shortage of hard drives.

Net earnings rose to $893m (£564.7m), from $822m this time last year.

During the third quarter, desktop PC revenues slid six per cent to $3.4bn as Dell’s sales to consumers fell six per cent.

Gross margins slipped to 23.1 per cent from 23.2 per cent in the prior quarter, but rose from 20 per cent a year earlier.

Investors fear a slowdown in PC manufacturing late this year and in 2012 after flooding in Thailand severely disrupted production of hard drives, a key component in computers.

“To the that extent we see higher [drive] prices we’ll also see some offsets in other components and we're going to do everything we can to protect our customers. But maybe in some cases we do have to raise our prices,” said chief financial officer Brian Gladden said following the results.

Shares in Dell slid two per cent to $15.32 in after-hours trading.