Dell is apparently very interested in Windows 8 tablets for business users, according to comments by CEO Michael Dell.
apparently has its eye on crafting a business-centric Windows 8 tablet.
a secure Windows tablet that works with all the Windows applicationswe're
hearing a lot of demand for that, and we think that will be quite attractive,"
Michael Dell, CEO of his eponymous company, said on the Bloomberg
unsurprising, considering Dell's past comments on the matter. Speaking to
analysts and journalists on an August 2011 conference call, he said, "Our
early work on Windows 8 on the tablet side looks to be pretty encouraging."
At the time, he also suggested the company was "quite interested" in
originally loaded Android into its line of Streak tablets, which failed to
excite the marketplace in the same way as Apple's iPad. The original 5-inch
Streak suffered something of an identity crisis, with many reviewers asking
whether it was a large smartphone or a small tablet. Dell then issued the
7-inch Streak, only to stop selling it (along with the 5-inch edition) by
viewed Android as a way to break into the consumer tablet market. Windows 8
tablets, however, offer the prospect of a sustained enterprise play. This
dovetails with Microsoft's intentions for its next-generation operating system,
which it will aim at not only consumers, but also the wide variety of
businesses that rely on Microsoft infrastructure for everyday business
processes. Windows 8 is scheduled to hit the market later in 2012.
Dell, the rise of tablets presents a particular conundrum. For several
quarters, analysts have debated over whether the popularity of mobile touch screens
correlates directly with slowing PC sales worldwide. Whatever the actual
answer, it's unequivocal that PCs are experiencing a soft patch, sales-wise,
which in turn could affect a PC manufacturer like Dell in negative ways.
the continued focus on tablets, despite the failure of the Streak experiment.
On a macro level, Dell might also position itself as less a PC-manufacturing
concern and more a purveyor of IT services. "We're no longer a PC company,
we're an IT company," Brad Anderson, president of Dell's Enterprise
Solutions, told PC
during a February event in London. "It's no longer about shiny
boxes, it's about IT solutions."
that path also carries significant risks. In 2011, Hewlett-Packard attempted a
similar repositioning, acquiring U.K.-based IT services provider Autonomy and
announcing that it would spin off its PC-manufacturing Personal Systems Group
(PSG). It later walked back that PSG decision, but not before the markets
punished the company's stock.
hasn't embarked on anything on the scale of HP's Autonomy acquisition, but the
recent comments about tablets suggest the company is nonetheless trying to
adapt with the times. And given how Android tablets have failed to break the
iPad's majority hold on the tablet market, Windows 8 tablets may represent the
best bet for manufacturers other than Apple to seize a bit more of that
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter