Dell took to the offensive against Apple's iPad, with an executive claiming the rival tablet is too expensive and complex for the enterprise.
executive is attracting a massive amount of attention for suggesting the Apple
iPad will eventually bomb in the enterprise.
great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island," Andy Lark, who leads
the global marketing efforts for Dell's Large Enterprise Group, told CIO
Australia in a March 28 interview
. "It's not so great if you have
to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite
Part of the
iPad's Achilles Heel, he continued, was the cost of the tablet with
accessories: "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you'll be at
$1,500 or $1,600; that's double of what you're paying. ... That's not feasible."
aside of why one would need a mouse to navigate a touch-screen interface, Lark
also advocated Dell's strategy for the tablet space. "We've taken a very
considered approach to tablets, given that the vast majority of our business
isn't in the consumer space," he said. "We've got a far more diversified
footprint than some of these players."
Dell has taken
something of a meandering path into the tablet market. In August 2010, the
manufacturer released the 5-inch Streak to the U.S. market. Running Google
Android, and capable of making phone calls, the device seemed to suffer something
of an identity crisis: Was it a very small tablet, or a larger smartphone?
hoped the original Streak would appeal to an audience in the market for both
types of device-and seemed willing to take the risk that, in attempting to hit
that sweet spot between the two, the Streak would end up an also-ran in the
tablet and smartphone categories.
In any case,
Dell soon went back to the proverbial drawing board and produced the Dell
Streak 7, a 7-inch tablet clearly designed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy
Tab and Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook. Like the other Android tablets
hitting the market at the time, the Streak 7 runs Android 2.2 (or "Froyo"),
which was developed for smartphones' smaller screens; as the device reached
store shelves, Dell promised "over-the-air" software updates in the future,
presumably to the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 (or "Honeycomb").
purchasing of tablets is expected to rise in 2011, according to both analysts
and surveys. Near the end of 2010, ChangeWave Research surveyed some 1,641
business IT buyers and found that about 7 percent of corporations provided
their employees with tablet PCs, a 1 percent rise from August, with another 14
percent expecting to make a tablet purchase in the first quarter of 2011.
Apple's iPad constituted 82 percent of the market, followed by Hewlett-Packard
with 11 percent and Dell with 7 percent.
Both Dell and
Apple face substantial competition in the next few quarters from several
aggressive competitors. Samsung is planning to release 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch
revisions of its Galaxy Tab, LG Electronics is hard at work on the G-Slate, and
RIM is hoping its PlayBook will appeal to both consumers and BlackBerry's
traditional business audience. Motorola's Xoom, equipped with Google Android
3.0, attracted some buzz at its launch but sales numbers remain unclear.
With the iPad
2, Apple has the advantage of a blockbuster consumer product that employees
will want integrated into their working lives. The Streak 7 hasn't sparked
similar around-the-block lines, but-at least based on Lark's comments-it seems
as if Dell will try and leverage its existing lines of business to make the tablet
attractive to the enterprise.