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Dell, Microsoft looking for some Red ink

The two companies planned to announce on Friday that they were teaming up to offer three (Product) Red PCs, supporting the charitable effort that benefits women and children affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa.

However, their news dribbled out early, after the New York Times' John Markoff mentioned the plans on the paper's Davos blog.

Dell plans to slather its all-in-one desktop PC, the XPS One, in red. The two are also teaming up on Red versions of the XPS M1330 and XPS 1530 notebooks, which, should be noted, were already available in red paint. The difference will be a special version of the operating system.

The PC is Red on the inside, too, with a special edition of Windows Vista Ultimate edition that includes specially themed desktop wallpaper and sidebar gadgets.

Most importantly, the two companies will donate a portion of the proceeds to the (Product) Red effort, a total joint contribution of $80 for each XPS One, and $50 for each notebook, directly to the Global Fund for each special edition PC purchased.

The move is a personal victory for Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who has been a big proponent of (Product) Red, but it has been Apple that has been first to the market with its (Product) Red iPods.

Gates told CNET at last year's CES that he was trying to get his company on board with the effort.

Dell will also offer a (Product) Red printer, the 948 all-in-one printer. Dell will make a $5 contribution to the Global Fund for each purchase.

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