The new AOL and Carphone Warehouse joint promotion that offers a free Dell Inspiron laptop has prompted speculation that the Carphone Warehouse may start selling Dell products.

Dell had traditionally always run a "direct only" to business, or consumer, business model, with a 23-year history of direct sales.

A recent decline in profit led the company to begin to offer some of its produce lines in Wal-Mart and BestBuy retail stores in the States.

Dell has previously stated this it was considering a similar route to market in western Europe, it already supplies resellers in eastern European markets.

It has been assumed that Dell products in the UK would be offered through ASDA - who's parent company is Wal-Mart.

Dell would not confirm or deny whether it was going to be selling computers via the phone shop, but did offer the following statement:

"Dell's partnership with The Carphone Warehouse in the UK is a major element of our evolving global retail strategy.

Offering systems in The Carphone Warehouse is a major opportunity for Dell to connect with customers we may not have necessarily reached in the past.

This partnership provides new ways for customers to connect with Dell via the Internet, over the phone and at select retail outlets.

Adding a new sales channel gives more customers the opportunity to benefit from our new products and services that are uniquely designed to meet their personal needs".