Stop the presses! Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) had a solid third quarter.

Oh wait, it's Dell. That's par for the course for that Texan overachiever. Start the presses back up again. False alarm. Move along now. Nothing to see here.

Yes, Dell earned $0.26 a share on $10.6 billion in revenue this past quarter. That's yet another healthy step up from last year's showing of $0.21 per share on $9.1 billion in revenue. While the company's biggest percentage gains came in its server and data storage lines, its flagship personal computer business was no slouch. Dell's desktop shipments rose by 20% over last year's output. Higher-margin notebook sales grew even faster, but I'm guessing that you expected that as well.

Who would have banked on so much stemming from the box business? Compaq accepted Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE:HPQ) buyout offer to diversify into peripherals. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is serving its niche audience well, but is still moving everything from digital downloads to portable music players. Gateway (NYSE:GTW) rolled out 58 new products in 13 new categories this past quarter.

Raising its own bar, Dell is looking to produce profits of $0.28 a share during the current holiday quarter on a record $11.5 billion in revenue. Typical? It is if you're Dell these days.

If anything, the company's performance was so in character that most of last night's media attention turned to Dell's inadvertent posting of some of its third-quarter financials on its website 40 minutes before the market close.

Surely enough, our fellow Fools were already dissecting the numbers on our Dell discussion board by 3:25 p.m. ET. Can the unintentional oversight be characterized as selective disclosure? Of course not. If anything, look at it as refreshing payback to have the great leveler of them all -- the Internet -- break the news after decades of companies leaking privileged information to Wall Street analysts first.

Well done, Dell.

Dell won, well?

Are you more interested in Dell's third-quarter financials than the fact that it was accidentally posted on the website early? What is behind the company's fourth-quarter holiday cheer? All this and more -- in the Dell discussion board. Only on