PC Makers Use Style To Challenge Apple

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Personal computer buyers often ask questions about technical features such as hard drives and microprocessors. Ken Musgrave hopes to inspire a different kind of customer query: "Does that come in pink?"

Mr. Musgrave, an executive in Dell Inc.'s design group, is trying to inject a sense of style into the company's PCs, with new shapes, sizes and colors. One of its notebooks, the Inspiron, does come in pink -- not to mention blue, red, black, green, white, yellow and brown.

Spurred in part by the success of Apple Inc.'s innovative products, as well as a consumer shift toward notebook computers, PC makers have begun a radical overhaul of their machines' appearance. They're racing to replace boring boxes with sexy silhouettes that will differentiate their products, entice new buyers and command higher prices.

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