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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 07:26 GMT
Dell in search tests with Google
Dell notebook computer
Getting software onto a computer can help make it industry standard
Computer-maker Dell is running tests with Google to see if it will install the firm's software on its products.

Dell said it was evaluating Google's search tools, both for the web and for documents stored on the PC.

The move would make Google the default search on millions of new computers, as it tries to expand its business and attract more users.

It also could help firms chip away at the dominant position of Microsoft, which is also developing search tools.

'Desktop search'

At the heart of Microsoft's success was its agreement with computer manufacturers to make its Windows software the default operating system on new PCs.

Once the software is on the computer, the majority of users do not bother with alternatives, analysts said.

Google is looking to tie up more agreements with manufacturers giving it greater access to computer users and revenues from advertisers.

The search firm already has deals with Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, Sony, Apple and Toshiba.

"We can confirm that we are running a test with Google that could include a Google-powered home page, Google desktop search and a Google Toolbar," said Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman.

No evidence

However, analysts said that Microsoft's position was not in immediate danger and the cost of having to tie in manufacturers may hamper Google's future profit growth.

"There is no serious evidence that [Microsoft's] franchise is actively being undermined in any material way at this point," said Charles Di Bona, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein.

Google's shares have fallen since the firm disappointed Wall Street with its earnings report last week.

The stock dropped 4.5% to $367.92 on Tuesday.

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