It was another upbeat quarter for Dell Computer Corp., which posted rosy earnings results yesterday, even in a sluggish tech market.

The Round Rock, Tex., computer maker reported a profit of $561 million (21 cents per share) on revenue of $9.1 billion for the three-month period ended Nov. 1. The company earned $429 million (16 cents) on revenue of $7.5 billion in the same period of 2001.

Dell continues to build success by taking market share from rivals. The company reported a 28 percent year-over-year rise in overall product shipments, compared with a 2 percent increase for the rest of the industry.

Chief Financial Officer James M. Schneider credited sales of servers and storage systems for the strong quarter. The company reported that sales of storage systems rose 73 percent from the same period of last year.

"A lot of people had been doubting whether Dell could compete in the storage space," said Todd Kort, an analyst at Gartner Dataquest.

"I think this should put those doubts to rest."

Though Dell has grown by supplying the machinery that makes up the technological backbone for many of its corporate clients, the company is still angling for more business among actual users of computing devices. The company has announced plans to enter the handheld computer market, for example.

Dell's handheld device hasn't hit the market yet, but it already has some analysts predicting that companies with competing products will have to find other profitable niches next year to survive.

Dell has thrived in recent years principally by taking market share from its competitors, which is why good news for Dell does not necessarily mean good news for the rest of the tech sector.

"You have to look at Dell in isolation," said S. Bob Rezaee, a portfolio manager and senior analyst at Montgomery Asset Management LLC.

"They are in a position to create their own weather."

Schneider said in a conference call that revenue for Dell's fourth quarter will increase 20 percent year over year, to about $9.7 billion. That would translate to earnings per share of 23 cents, a 35 percent increase, he said.