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Byline: John Pletz
Jul. 20--It wasn't the same old Dell Computer Corp. annual meeting Thursday.
Shareholders noticed the change soon after walking through the doors of the Austin Convention Center, where they were greeted by metal detectors and requests to show admission tickets -- a first for the company.
Inside, the optimistic, almost euphoric mood of past meetings was noticeably absent. Although the company continued to outdistance most of its peers during the past 12 months, it wasn't the off-the-charts performance of previous years.
Also missing, or at least muted, was some of the swagger and cockiness on the part of Dell executives when performing in front of the home crowd.
Chairman Michael Dell flashed his $10.5 billion smile -- down from about $19.1 billion a year ago -- and made a strong case that his company will win the battle for desktops, servers …