Who Should Be Dells Next Partner?

Opinion: As Dell shakes things up, here are some partner suggestions. One is obvious, one is less obvious and one is way out there.

Who should Dell next invite to the dance? Ive got a few suggestions.

Now that Dell is leading the chorus in singing, "Those slower sales are breaking up that old gang of mine," it is a good time to offer some free advice to Michael, Kevin and the rest of the Round Rock crew on additional potential partners.

This round of free advice springs from two significant recent actions on Dells part. First, was the announcement that Dell was no longer solely at Intels beck and call regarding processors.

The second was the announcement by Google CEO Eric Schmidt that Google and Dell had cut a deal.

So, who else should be invited to do the Round Rock electric slide? I have one obvious suggestion, one less obvious and one way out there.

First, is Apple. If you are going to give the customers some choice in processors and give the customers some choice in search engines, how about some choice in operating systems?

Apple is on a roll, but the roll can also be their undoing. Those new Apple laptops running Intel chips are being beat up in the forums for overheating and claims of shoddy manufacturing including this Gizmodo story and photo.

A story over at Engadget claims that Apple is advising laptop users not to use the new MacBook Pros on their laps.

If there is one thing Dell knows how to do, it is manufacturing computers. No one is better at matching supply to demand and getting the box out the door and onto the customers desk in the configuration they ordered.

If Apple is going to make some serious inroads into the personal computing market, they need a reliable second source which can raise design issues before they become Web banter.

Apple offers up an operating system that Im sure Michael Dell (still a geek at heart) could fully appreciate.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Dells recent to deal to use AMD chips.

Is such a deal too far out there? Is Steve Jobs too much of a precision CEO to ever allow the Apple logo to join hands with the Dell logo? I think Apples opening the door to Intel means opening the door to the whole wintel clan.

My second choice for a dance partner is Samsung. Samsung recently introduced a computer with flash drive as the first level of storage before moving onto the disk.

Getting a disk spinning, powering up, powering down and managing all the bits on the disk is still a big reason for both desktop and laptop power consumption, crashes and slow performance.

Just as the major league IT world has realized that storage needs to be hierarchical, the same is true for desktop and laptop storage.

Your operating system should reside in a safe, write-protected area. Your immediate storage needs should be solved by flash. Anything with a longer life should be on the disk.

Dell has moved away from the troika of Dell/Intel/Microsoft and now should lead the way in technology where users will find an immediate benefit. Time for Dell to get flashy.

Okay, my third choice is way out there. But Dell should work with a company like Dust Networks.

Customers are interested in green computing because they are concerned about power consumption. However, most desktops and laptops (in fact, maybe all) are totally incapable of reporting what their power consumption is as it relates to electrical usage coming in from the plug.

If Dell wants to create a really distinctive product, it must figure out how to help IT managers measure electrical consumption and report that usage into a common database.

This is the same idea as any compliance framework which measures access, rights and permissions and develops reports which mangers can read.

If Dell wants to get out front of the green movement, help IT managers figure out how much power is going to run those systems sitting out on users desks.

Anyone have any other suggestions? If so, send me an e-mail.

eWEEK magazine editor in chief Eric Lundquist can be reached at eric_lundquist@ziffdavis.com.

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