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The Tablet Debate

It seems that I ignited a bit of a debate around tablets in the Enterprise.

First, let’s be clear there will be an exciting opportunity to serve enterprises and consumers alike with devices of all shapes and sizes, including tablets and smartphones. But the key to delivering solutions that meet the needs of the enterprise market remains grounded in the notion of open, capable and affordable.

  • Open means open. Apps and content can be written and easily deployed – without vendor intervention. Carriers freely selected. Service partners and channels chosen based on relevance to the Enterprise, not relevance to the vendor. There is a choice of OS.
  • Affordable isn’t just referring to the single solution, it means the total bundle – virtual desktop, virtual apps, system, carrier plans, accessories are beneath the price bands seen today from the market leader. In part, that’s why we partner with Google and Microsoft and others to ensure we are enabling a comprehensive solution.
  • Capable means existing workloads run well – whether virtualized or through the browser. It also means the device is packaged with comprehensive enterprise services – from the remote recovery and termination through global remote support. And many Enterprises are looking for the same lifecycle and lifecycle management they have seen on the notebook.

Just because a device is doing well in the consumer market isn’t a proxy for success in the Enterprise market or for meeting all the needs of the Enterprise user. This is because there are a raft of issues that enterprises struggle with. Security is a big one and extends to being able to remotely manage the workloads they need (install, update, wipe, cloud base sensitive data, run Office, etc). As is the complexity of managing so many devices per user.

What I outlined yesterday was that some of our competitors in the consumer market have products that are doing well there and rightfully being looked at – as are ours – by enterprise buyers. 

What I didn’t say competitors would fail. Not even close. But then interviewees don’t write headlines and rarely do journalists.

A few folks had questions on my pricing comparison. First, the reporting is in Australia and being down under I was using $NZ based on a trip that morning to a retailer with a CIO customer to check out how they were merchandising computers. Take a look online and you will see 3G tablets around NZ$ 1,875.01 or, without the keyboard and a cheaper cover you are looking at NZ$ 1,634.00. Why would you want a keyboard? Well, the only way most Enterprises can justify that price is to set it up as the primary device.

Liberal headlining aside, innovation around tablets is opening the door to a raft of new technology and shining a light on the needs of users in the enterprise market. And that market – our largest – is one that we are very focused on and aim to compete in with purpose built solutions.

Also posted over on the Dell Blogs.

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