By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Computer entrepreneur Michael Dell said it was "not too likely" that his company would follow the example of the Apple company and outsource its manufacturing at the cost of jobs in Ireland.
Apple has shed 450 jobs in their Cork plant after reportedly signing an estimated $10 billion, five-year contract with the Korean LG Electronics Corporation for it to do work instead of plants in Asia, Europe and North America.
Dell, 33, chairman and chief executive, said the business model that Apple employed was quite different from that used by Dell Computers.
"We ship directly to the customer and our process includes a lot more integration of customer information and customization," Dell said. "The indirect manufacturers usually ship products to a dealer and customization occurs at the site of the dealer. Our process is quite a bit different and of course our growth and share and scale and profitability are quite a bit different also."
He said his company was paying close attention to the successful features of the Apple iMAC, such as the ergonomics and design.
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Dell was in Ireland to lay the foundation for his company’s third major European manufacturing facility in Limerick. It will costs $90 million and employ 1,700. In four years, the company says, it will employ 6,000 in Ireland — making it by far the biggest new technology employer in the country.
He sees a great future for e-commerce. At the moment Dell does 20 percent of its business on the Internet and he expects that to grow to 50 percent. More than $4 billion worth of computers a year are currently being sold online.
He said Ireland was the cornerstone of Dell’s business in Europe currently averaging $2 million dollars a day in business.
"Ireland is right at the heart of Dell’s operations in Europe. As we continue to grow this operation here in Limerick and Bray will continue to expand so the future is tremendously bright for our business here," he said.