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Dell And HP Hit Out Against The iPad

David Gilbert


Dell And HP Hit Out Against The iPad

It is fair to say that Apple is the dominant force in the tablet market. With over 16 million iPads sold so far, no one is coming within an ass’s roar of its success and competitors have this week been lining up to try and knock the Cupertino company.

Speaking to CIO Australia, Dell’s global head of marketing for large enterprises and public organisations, Andy Lark, said the iPad would “ultimately fail in the enterprise.” He went on to say that while he was delighted that Apple created the market and has built up enthusiasm for tablets in general, he believes “that already Android is outpacing them.” Considering that no Android tablet has come even close to matching the complete package offered by Apple and that the first Honeycomb-powered tablet in the UK, the Asus Transformer, will only arrive next week the statement seems a little far fetched. But Lark wasn’t finished there.

He went on to say Apple’s pricing of the iPad was too expensive: "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case {means} you'll be at $1500 or $1600; that's double of what you're paying." Even the most ardent Apple opposer will be able to see that his figures don’t stack up. If you take it that he’s talking in Australian dollars and go for the most expensive iPad 2 (AU$949) it would be hard to make up the rest with a keyboard and mouse. Lark has since said he was talking about New Zealand dollars (£760) but it still doesn’t explain his other comments.

Dell are not the only company having a pop at Apple though, with HP vice president Steven DeWitt having a go at Apple’s relationship with partners calling it “transactional” and that his company was far more friendly towards partners. However, how much the punter on the street cares about Apple's or HP’s relationship with its partners is debatable. Finally, Microsoft had a go at tablets in general despite having Windows on a number of tablet devices already. Its global chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie, said that he didn’t know if tablets, such as the iPad 2 would “remain with us or not.” He said that the smartphone would become the more crucial technology in the future.

Source: CIO Australia and mobile-review


March 31, 2011, 5:01 pm

Ooooh boy, where to start? Well HP seem like a good place as they kinda have a point. They're also lining up webOS as more than a mobile OS by planning to put it on PC's as well so it makes sense they're banging that particular drum, they can have a pass.

Dell strike me more and more as being absolutely desperate these days. They're a big force in PC's but every effort to expand outside that core strength has pretty much flunked and, with Microsoft confirming that Windows 8 will also come to ARM devices, they're going to find their revenue squeezed even more as the typical cost of a computer drops down to rock bottom levels.

Microsoft though... come on Redmond, you've been trying to get the tablet market going for a decade now, just because you blew it spectacularly is no reason to throw a hissy fit when someone else gets it right. You just get this feeling that Windows 8 is going to have to be very, very good indeed and deliver a fully-formed tablet stratergy that connects with consumers or they could find themselves becoming more and more a enterprise-focused company rather than a consumer one, something that MS seem to be at pains to avoid happening at the moment.


March 31, 2011, 5:14 pm

"An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case {means} you'll be at $1500 or $1600"...
A mouse for the iPad?? Did he see an iPad before?


March 31, 2011, 5:34 pm

Dell and MS just don't get it. The entire point of a tablet is that you don't need a mouse and keyboard and you're not tied to a desk. Utter BS on pricing too. Both of those companies are stuck in the stone age when a full desktop PC was a must have and even a laptop is an innovation. Bring out your own strategy for innovation....seriously.

When an Android/MS/anyone other than Apple tablet comes out that betters the iPad 1/2 in functionality, build quality and content, then perhaps comment becomes more fair. Until then, anything said is just marketing rubbish that should be laughed at.


March 31, 2011, 6:21 pm

@Kempez, while I see your point, I think it's you who doesn't get it.

The iPad is a great device and I bet MS/Dell and all the rest are kicking themselves for missing out on all the revenue and goodwill Apple are getting and will for at least another year. But when you look at functionality, then any Windows tablet has the iPad hands down. The problem is ease of use and to me that's where these companies see their salvation.

If (and yes it's a big IF) Windows 8 can fuse the ease of use of the iPad with the functionality of Windows then nobody (with sense) will want iPads anymore. There will be dozens of manufacturers bringing out Windows tablets with different feature sets and price ranges for everyone, and most of them will undercut the iPad. So yes right now these guys look like fools, nothing comes close to the iPad, but it's lacking too many features for too many people right now; most people would still prefer a laptop. So no doubt Apple will have sold 40-50m iPads by the end of the year; but next year or the one after, that's when things will change. That said of course that gives Apple plenty of time to add more features to the iPad and keep their lead.


March 31, 2011, 6:26 pm

I imagine Messrs Jobs et al find those sorts of comments very comforting. Not only do they have the dominant product(s) in the sector but big rivals are reduced to making stuff up and chucking toys out of prams. If I was a shareholder in HP or Dell I would be worried about the leadership of the companies. The MS comment is a little different though, it sounds as though they are just covering for a tardy delivery of tablet platforms and to an extent they may be right long term, we just don't know how long tablets (in current form at least) will be with us whereas smartphones have had infinitely more take up and appear to be turning into the de facto form factor for mobiles.


March 31, 2011, 6:43 pm

Lark's comments were perhaps inevitable. As a reasonably successful hardware manufacturer, Dell could hardly just sit there and look sheepish. Unfortunately the result was that Lark had to say something, he had to issue the Apple 'put down' and he was fed duff information by his researchers.

Inevitably someone will come out with a credible alternative to the iPad, and that's a good thing. Good in that it means more choice, and good in that it'll (hopefully) keep Apple on their toes. I'm not a believer in 'Highlanderism' and look forward to a future where there are more intermediary devices like these that sit between smartphones and desktop/laptop machines.

Very often the 'spec' argument is brought to bear on Apple as in competitors offer faster processors, more storage, better connectivity, and this is then quoted as the reason why Apple will fail. However from my experience Apple seem to stick with what they know, pushing the boundaries a little, and doing it right. Both the usability of the device, the buying experience, and the aftersales care seem to combine to make the whole thing better than the sum of the parts, and let's not forget the Apple stores as well.

Everyone is quick to either slate the iPad as a failure now or in the future. Why not celebrate the differences and say there is a place for both Apple and other manufacturers as successful tablet providers in the future?

Footnote - I use both Apple & non-Apple devices and have no particular allegiance to either.


March 31, 2011, 7:24 pm

@HK - No, it's not me me who doesn't get it. Devices like iPads aren't intended as desktop or laptop replacements. There is a new market for 'sofa surfers' who don't give a damn about an all singing all dancing device. There are those who can't be bothered messing around with full PC functionality and who couldn't care less if they don't see a windows device ever again. The iPad (and tablet based OS devices), is finding new people who saw PC's as complicated and unfriendly and giving them a reason to be quickly connected without the fuss.

The fact that Microsoft have said that they don't want to bring Windows Phone 7 to a tablet says it all. I personally think that OS has a great potential to be a very good rival to iOS, but MS won't release it and will rely on a fully fledged Windows 8 to do the trick (which I'm assuming will have a tablet version). I'm annoyed by the slowness of other companies to adapt to a changing market and bring in something that gives people a good reason for choice. I'd rather Apple didn't have the market cornered and that they didn't have the only tablet that makes any sense to buy. Competition is good, but the competition has been massively slow to catch up on this one and Apple will keep a step or so ahead. I do hope that Android or WebOS or something else steps in to quicken the pace.

Windows isn't the be-all and end-all for personal 'computing' (an outdated phrase!), some people need to learn that. A full PC isn't the necessity that it used to be and whilst it won't disappear, it's not going to be the same market that it once was.

Us 'geeks' won't do without a PC, but the general populous will.


March 31, 2011, 8:11 pm

I read on another blog this quote : "iPads are for brand marketing victims who dont understand tech."

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of that, enterprise in general, loves wasting buckets of money buying into obsolete, locked down systems & software. Couple that with the fact that most the people with the budget strings can't tell a OSX from W7 and I think the iPad will do very well for a time until they wise up and realise that the cost benefit doesn't add up.

Someone at a very large company I was working for the other day (who has had iPads distributed to the proletariat) asked how they can quickly copy a presentation she had on her iPad to her colleagues iPads. I just laughed and pretended I didn't know!


March 31, 2011, 11:49 pm

I would agree with you but for the fact that iPads and iPods are largely useless without a host PC to feed them content.

I guess the sofa surfers could make do with bashing their own beats on garage band and watching their self shot home videos.


April 1, 2011, 12:10 am

Kempez and HK both raise good points- Apple certainly have shown that it's possible to be desirable and not be a PC- as well as proving that's still a lot of space to innovate (I've seen more innovative things come out of iPhone developers (and, to a lesser degree, iPad devs) in the last year than I've seen in the world of PC app's in the last 5)... but the PC market is still a far bigger beast - and whilst couch surfers and the like enjoy the wonders of freedom from a wall socket and the like, the real money will almost certainly be in the business market.

It's in the business market that an open platform will make a massive difference- and that needn't be as open as Android- Window's (presuming 8 doesn't come with a closed market like an iPad) is a chance for custom internal applications for businesses, apps which do things Apple might be reluctant to let you do, or apps which might sometimes be a bit buggy in their initial, beta, release, but grow to be massive game changers after a couple of bug fixes which have long existed in the Windows world- that's the future - and that's were the money is. Once big corporates are behind them then tablets (like PC's have) will trickle into the homes in even bigger numbers- and that's why the land grab which Apple's achieved is a case of "you ain't seen nothing yet"!

I personally can't get on board with Android tablets (yet)- the OS is still very immature and lacks the finesse of Apple's iOS- but if Microsoft managed to pull off another solid OS (after Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Server 2008 r2) it's hard not to get excited about the next 12-24 months


April 1, 2011, 12:31 am

I'm just wondering where all these 16m ipads are. I see one or two on my London commute, but often tucked under the owner's arm while they read a copy of The Metro! On the other hand, everyone seems to be playing with their iPhone4s.

While it's clear that there's a lot of sour grapes amongst the above companies, there is an understandable skepticism about a market that was "created" from nothing.


April 1, 2011, 1:43 am

I'm waiting for a decent Android tablet. Apple products were never meant for me and can see iPad not doing so well in the near future when realistic alternatives is upon us. Like the smartphones Android will outpace anything Apple. iPhones are not growing much at all except the same iFanBoys who bought last years iPhone will continue to do so this coming year and the next…


April 1, 2011, 4:26 pm

@rav - a good point and one which Apple need to address if they truly want to get people to buy an iPad and not worry about it being a second device in the house. iTunes cloud storage could easily address this....


April 1, 2011, 4:58 pm

I had my first work meeting using an iPad 2 yesterday and to say it was slick is an understatement. Great notepad app, no problem to use at all and the smart cover gives the perfect angle for typing.

When it came to my turn I had a few prepared slides, so using multitouch gestures just moved to next app which was Keynote. No waiting for apps to load and the slides were already there open and waiting. No time spent trying to find mouse cursors either, just touch and go.

During the rest of the meeting an issue was raised regarding our Linux servers. 3 taps later I had a VNC session via iSSH checking up on that. Then quickly "slide" back to the notepad app to take notes.

Also had the iPad in full view all the time, none of that "being behind the screen" feel of using computers in meetings. It just suits itself naturally.

@rav I'm sorry but I have to disagree with that. All my iPad content (apart from existing iPhone apps) came via Wifi not from my PC. Even (extensive) music library is streamed via iTunes Homeshare, or Pogoplug when I'm away from my home wifi.


April 1, 2011, 6:12 pm

How is that disagreeing? Either way it's still coming from a host PC, either directly (sync) or via WiFi (streaming). Harly a post PC world.


April 1, 2011, 7:27 pm

@rav I was disagreeing with the second part of your comment. There's plenty of content to download directly to the iPad (even without the PC) not just your own stuff.

But yes it's still best to keep a PC somewhere along the loop. I don't think we'll ever live in a PC free world, much like we still don't live without mainframes.

As for cloud solutions I'd wait and see how they play out the technical and legal problems.


April 1, 2011, 7:32 pm

@Rav - I share GK's enthusiasm for the iPad2, but also your frustration regarding lack of 'proper' read/write support for (mass storage) media.

However, whether this alone is reason enough to shun the iPad2 depends on your point of view.

If you've ever used iThoughts on an iPad, you can see exactly how much potential iOS has for serious application in business, study and strategic/research/planning work -and with superb integration with cloud-based storage services such as Dropbox, physical media becomes a non-issue.

Pendejo Sin Nombre

April 1, 2011, 9:07 pm

'Harly a post PC world.'

I'm not sure post-PC means what you think it does and I don't think Steve Jobs was using it in the way you think he was.

Around about halfway through the interview -



April 2, 2011, 3:44 am

@Kempez: I agree the iPad is an intermediary device, more for consumption than creation. But if MS can come out with Win8 that does everything the iPad does, plus also gives you the full power of a "PC" OS at the same or lower cost than an iPad, then the iPad no matter how wonderful it is, will find it's time limited.

Anyway, people love to bash Apple and people love to worship Apple, so these discussions could go on forever. The iPad is cool, I don't want one but if someone gave me one i'd use it from time to time. I really feel though for most tasks a mobile phone is sufficient (esp as screen sizes slide to 5") and when I want a bigger screen then I really need a proper laptop.


April 3, 2011, 1:10 pm

I don't think the other manufacturers get it yet. They seem to produce better hardware than the ipad but the user experience is what really matters.

Apple do both the software and hardware and their user experience is pretty slick.

One of the big manufacturers needs to beat Apple at this user experience lark - should be really easy once they've got the focus.

Really easy becaue the ipad and ios is far (very far) from perfect. Once you marvelled at the screen and played around with a couple of apps, it's limitations begin to appear. Beauth is only skin deep in the ipad's case.

I don't if other people have the same issue, when whenever I need to do something 'real', I always need to put the ipad away and go back to my laptop/desktop. The 'real' things are quite simple - print, save, edit docuements, etc


April 3, 2011, 7:50 pm

Prem:Not sure about the better hardware part, the CPU and gfx chip on the iPad 2 are the best out there and its IPS display is also top quality (as you said so yourself). The camera is a bit of a let down, but I don't consider that a primary function for a tablet computer.

User experience is very hard to get right, not an easy thing at all. The devil is in the details as proved by the many billions spent by companies in the past (just look at Nokia, definitely no lack of hardware or marketing funding there)

I haven't come across any of the iPad issues you mention. Printing is a click away (if you have an Airprint printer or software like Printopia), saving? no problem and for edit you just need the right app (e.g Pages, Keynote or Numbers). Of course I'm not going to write a 50 page report from scratch on the iPad, that's not it's purpose, but for editing on the go it's very good.

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