Dell Exec: The iPad Is Too ‘Shiny’ For Business

Dell Exec: The iPad Is Too ‘Shiny’ For Business

Despite failure of its Streak tablets, Dell exec trivializes iPad

Dell hasn’t had anything resembling success in the tablet market with either businesses or consumers, but that isn’t stopping the company from deriding the iPad and its success.

According to Dell Australia’s managing director Joe Kreme, users only buy iPads because they’re “shiny” and troubleshooting any issue with an iPad or iOS could take up to four days. As a result of these so-called facts, Kreme said that the tablet race hasn’t even started yet.

Kreme isn’t the first Dell executive to trash the iPad. The company’s Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice used the new iPad launch in March as an platform to claim that Apple’s tablets shouldn’t be considered business-worthy. His statements were somewhat closer to reality than Kreme’s. It’s almost hard to take Kreme’s statements seriously because they go so far  beyond hyperbole that they sound delusional. His remarks about the iPad were made at a media and analyst briefing in Sydney.

People might be attracted to some of these shiny devices but technology departments can’t afford to support them.

If you are giving a presentation and something fails on the software side it might take four days to get it up and running again. I don’t think this race has been run yet.

The remarks show that Kreme hasn’t actually done research on the demographics of iPads in business or the tools and processes needed to support them. The idea that IT can’t afford to support them is ludicrous. The devices often work so well when brought into the office that some IT departments don’t even know that they’re being used. Even management costs can be minimized when choosing a mobile management solution.

As we explored in our Mobile Management Month series, there are a range of options that offer varying feature sets and price points including management solutions that are completely free, like Centrify Express for Mobile and Apple’s own management tools.

Ironically, several mobile management suites can also manage desktop systems as well (both Macs and PCs running Windows or Linux), which directly positions them as competitors to Dell’s KACE enterprise management appliance.

As far as support in business environments, the process can pretty streamlined. Barring hardware failures, configuration and app issues can often be resolved with relative ease and many iOS users are capable of self-supporting when it comes to such issues. It’s worth mentioning here that troubleshooting a problem on a Dell notebook isn’t exactly a walk in the park and that often requires help desk support and/or a visit from an IT department’s desktop support team.

Kreme doesn’t mention the failure of Dell’s Android-based 5’ and 7’ Streak tablets to gain marketshare or that Dell felt forced to discontinue its netbook offerings after the iPad eroded demand for them. Now Dell, like other companies, is talking up Windows 8 tablets as the next great iPad-killers in business.

While it isn’t clear what impact Windows 8 and Windows RT will have on te business tablet space, the iPad’s sheer inertia and market penetration will make it difficult to compete against – particularly for Windows RT devices that can’t run legacy Windows apps or be managed by traditional PC management tools.

One thing seems certain though – Kreme is sadly mistaken if he thinks that the race for success in the business tablet market hasn’t even started.

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  • gnomehole

    This is why Dell is where its at and Apple is on top.   Making stupid comments like this makes it obvious Dell is going nowhere but down.

  • MrSarcy

    I’ve seen a Dell something once! Can’t remember where. Must have been 3-4 years ago. Could have been a printer, not sure. Or maybe a monitor.

    Are we sure this isn’t just some Joe who runs a deli in Australia?

  • extra_medium

    Despite everything being windows based here, the huge multinational company i work for just started buying iphones and ipads for employes to replace blackberries and windows based netbooks for travel solutions. The main reason wasnt even IT based, it was because employees asked for them. Apples marketing and superior products have left the starting blocks while dell apparently is waiting for the race to start.

  • SomeoneOrOther

    “What would I do? I’d shut it (Apple) down and give the money back to the
    shareholders,” Michael Dell said before a crowd of several thousand IT executives (at ITxpo97).

    You it’s funny, but I’ve yet to see a single Dell tablet that sells as well and is “less shiny” than Apple’s iPad.

  • Steffen Jobbs

    It’s so strange for him to say something like that when iPads are definitely being used for businesses all over.  It’s true that iPads are shiny but that’s because they’re built with quality materials and components.  I don’t doubt that Windows tablets will be very useful to IT departments and corporations and have some advantages over iPads, but he should give credit where credit is due.  It’s not like past Windows tablets were being used in large numbers before the iPad was introduced.  I’m fairly certain most employees weren’t bringing them to work.  I think this dude should wait until his company offers a tablet product and starts being used by businesses before he starts downplaying the iPads business capabilities.  It would seem inconceivable that after all this time the iPad has been around that IT can’t make it work reliably within the corporate structure.  They must not be trying hard enough.

  • Jdsonice
    Michael Dell is an idiot to hire people like this. I am going to short Dell. Money to be made. 




  • Boris Terekidi

    Apple makes shiny stuff… Ok. True.

    At least it’s better than the dull, boring garbage Dell produces.
  • technochick

    Clearly this guy has never used an iPad. Because it doesn’t take ‘up to four days’ to get it up and running. Most problems are software based and it takes more like 2 hours tops to run a restore and load a sync or even an iCloud backup. That is if the issue isn’t the app you are using for the presentation being buggy as hell and crashing with no actual problem with the iPad. 

    IF you do have an actual hardware issue, and there’s no Apple store or 3rd party shop around then it might take 4 days to receive your replacement but that’s the rare case. And no matter what your hardware only a fool doesn’t have a back up plan like a couple of the powerpoint etc on drop box that you can download to any computer that happens to be around. 
    As for the ‘shiny’ comment that sounds more like someone being butt hurt cause his stuff isn’t selling
  • Ian Campbell

    Someone should point out to Mr Kreme the abysmal volume of Dell PC’s that are DOA compared to Apple products while they’re there can they also ask how long it takes to replace a DOA Dell, I’ve got a suspicion it’s ore than 4 days.

    Just another case of sour grapes from a company that had their ass handed to them by the iPad because of the poor design / interface of their own product.
  • trubblmaker

    As a result of these so-called facts, Kreme said that the tablet race hasn’t even started yet.”


    Funny — the race looks over from where I’m standing…
  • Terry Schreck

    I know a few Dell execs here in Austin.  None of them are too bright.

  • Michael Scrip

    If you include the iPad… didn’t Apple recently overtake HP in sales?

    So… where is Dell on that list?
    Is Dell in any position to be smack-talking against Apple?
  • WlonsdaleWalt

    We used KACE at one time but we had issues with the client on DELL Vostro PC’s like intermittent crashes. Removed the client and voila, the issue disappeared.

  • DA623

    Someone should point out to Mr Kreme the abysmal volume of Dell PC’s that are DOA compared to Apple products while they’re there can they also ask how long it takes to replace a DOA Dell, I’ve got a suspicion it’s ore than 4 days.

    Just another case of sour grapes from a company that had their ass handed to them by the iPad because of the poor design / interface of their own product.

    Exactly, their build quality has only gotten WORSE though the years. I do on-site repair for Dell systems and its scary how many Latitude E6420 machines I repair. These are machines that are BARELY a year old and their breaking left and right, and being received DOA left and right. Same goes on desktops with the Optiplex 990s, I am seeing ALLOT of dead PSUs in them and their also barely a year old.

    Atleast their poor build quality keeps me in the job, lol.
  • DA623

    It seems like Dell can’t keep their mouth shut about things they don’t know. I am seeing iPads everywhere in businesses around the Cincinnati area, and allot of them are using iWork on them for presentations using the HDMI dongle, as well as doing work on Word and Excel documents while away from the desk. Its quite ironic too I am noticing this…..while repairing broken Dell systems at these said businesses. There’s also a growth in use of MacBooks as well in some businesses around here but not near as much as iPads (and iPhones are starting take over BlackBerry phones in many businesses around here).


    And he really pulled the “Four days” thing completely out of his rear end. If Presentation crashes, know how long it takes to relaunch it and get re-set up? Afew seconds, maybe a minute tops. And the worse case scenario is the iPad doesn’t boot at all and you have to restore it. That for most businesses, who don’t use allot of media, will probably take at most about 30-40 minutes to get the iOS restored, get the settings restored, and for it to resync the software. But that scenario is extremely rare.

    What this shows is Dell is desperate. Their losing the personal side of business hand-over-fist, and their beginning to slip in the business contracts they have as well. I noticed especially that I am doing FAR fewer personal service calls than I used to. What they need to do is instead of talking out of their rear about their competition, they need to improve the quality of their products, which has gotten HORRID (which is why I am so darn busy on the job), and especially improve the quality of their tech support. Its out of India and its horrid, the people barely want to help you at ALL. Even when TECHS doing service have to call, it can be a major headache.
  • ThunderboltMan

    ‘Too shiny’ huh?  He must have hooked up with the Dell “dude, you’re getting a Dell’ guy and joined his Choom gang, ‘cuz he’s obviously been smokin’ something!

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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