Dell Unlikely to Save Money in Short Term

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-11-08 Print this article Print


In addition, Windows Phone 7 is designed to be integrated into the Microsoft enterprise software world that includes SharePoint and Exchange, and will feature tight integration with Silverlight and .Net. These are features that have little or no use to consumers, but are critical to many enterprise users. 

While there's a lot of talk about how this might save Dell money (one presumes that Dell gives itself a discount), it's unlikely that this will be the case at least in the near term. There's considerable cost in dumping its RIM-based infrastructure, its BlackBerry Enterprise Server installation, as well as in retraining users and replacing hardware. While the overall cost might eventually be lower, it probably won't have much effect in the immediate future. 

Beyond those costs, moving to Windows Phone 7 will have other potential disadvantages, such as the lack of tethering and multitasking. The question is whether these will be significant-given that that part of the competitive environment includes the iPhone 4, which is also deficient in these areas.  

What's really stands out as important in examining Dell's move isn't really that it's dumping its relationship with RIM-it's that the company is moving to a new platform and to a new mobile phone OS that isn't Android. Perhaps by doing this it's really aiming at its archrival, HP, which is also rolling out its own HP branded phones that run a new version of WebOS. By embracing a phone that will work anywhere in the world and a carrier that's well-represented globally, perhaps Dell is looking for a way to create a preemptive strike in the global market where it competes with HP.  

If Dell was to stick with the BlackBerry platform, it would be unable to convincingly market to the global enterprise-something HP can already do. But the announcement that Dell is going with its own phone, on a GSM network and with a Windows platform also helps demonstrate that it is ready to compete on an equal footing with Apple and HP. It's unlikely that Dell would even attempt to compete as a pure consumer device, given its efforts to be a complete enterprise solution in other areas. But by embracing Windows Phone 7 and a phone of its own, it now has the credibility it needs to do just that. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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