Just a few short weeks ago, Michael Dell announced that his company should no longer be considered a consumer PC and device maker. Dell should now be considered an IT vendor with a focus on enterprise data center products, went the message. The company was going to get out of the device and peripheral business.
What a difference a few weeks can make when it comes to a company’s message. While the tech world focused on today’s launch of Apple’s new iPad, Dell’s chief commercial officer Steve Felice was talking up the company’s ability to challenge the iPad in business environments. Or put more accurately, the ability that Dell will have to challenge the iPad when Windows 8 ships later this year.
Felice was busy making the same kinds of statements that we’ve heard time and time again over the past two years from the likes of Lenovo, HP, RIM, and Dell itself among others.
On the commercial side there are a lot of concerns about security, interoperability, systems and device management.
That argument that may have rung true two years ago, but plenty of companies and their IT departments have had time to explore how to secure and manage the iPad (and the iPhone, for that matter) as well as to get a solid understanding of the integration capabilities that Apple has built into iOS.
Considering that IT leaders are now moving beyond the concept of device management and embracing information and data management or mobile app management, Dell’s focus on device management in this statement makes the company seem out of touch with even its core IT customers.
Interestingly, Felice provided no specifics about Dell’s plan with Windows 8 as far as specific devices or price points. Given that Windows on ARM (WOA) tablets are expected to have no enterprise integration and security features compared to those that the new iPad (or the iPad 2 or even the original iPad) has out of the box, makes it hard to consider WOA tablets as an option for most businesses. Windows 8 on x86 tablets will ship with full enterprise and Active Directory support but aren’t expected to be able to compete with the iPad on price.
Ultimately, Felice’s comments and sense of optimism don’t match up with the reality that the iPad is dominating the business tablet space with 96% of the market and with 84% companies planning tablet purchases choosing the iPad.
This sense is summed up by one of his comments to Reuters:
We come at the market in a different way … We are predominantly a company that has a great eye on the commercial customer who also wants to be a consumer.
A sentiment that complete misses the point that Apple, in doing the complete opposite, has managed to position itself perfectly for the consumerization of IT and BYOD trends that are redefining IT and technology in the workplace.