Dell executive: 'Shiny' iPads are not good for business

Dell executive: 'Shiny' iPads are not good for business

Summary: Windows 8 might be new, but it's still Windows, and enterprise knows how Windows works and how to keep it working, whether it be installed on desktops, notebooks, servers, or tablets.

TOPICS: Windows

Dell Australia managing director Joe Kremer has hit out at Apple's iPad, claiming that it is a "shiny" device that's too difficult for business to support.

Speaking at a media and analyst briefing in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon, Kremer said that "people might be attracted to some of these shiny devices but technology departments can't afford to support them," reports the Australian Financial Review.

"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."

Dell's no stranger to failures in the tablet market. The company tried to go up against the iPad with the Streak 5 and 7 Android-powered devices, but both tablets were crushed under the Apple's juggernaut and were eventually discontinued. Dell does continue to have a tablet presence, both Windows and Android-powered hardware, but there's nothing here that comes even close to challenging the iPad.

Let's not single out Dell here for tablet failures though. HP's TouchPad and RIM's PlayBook are just two more examples of the tablets that never made it.

The tablet market is a tough one to break into.

I think that the tactic that Dell is going for here is an interesting one. Dell is setting the stage for an onslaught of Windows tablets, both Windows 8 and Windows RT on ARM tablets. Windows 8 might be new, but it's still 'Windows', and enterprise knows how Windows works and how to keep it working, whether it be installed on desktops, notebooks, servers, or tablets.

Dell's a business built around Microsoft and Windows. Sure, it's dabbled with Linux and Android, but the core of its business revolves around Windows. Even CEO Michael Dell has admitted that he doesn't think Android has what it takes to challenge the iPad, and that "Microsoft has a pretty good shot with Windows 8".

Invoking support costs fears is an interesting tactic. I'm not going to argue over whether it is a valid point of FUD -- personally I'm leaning towards FUD, especially as we move more and more to a BYOD ecosystem where diversity is becoming a norm or sorts -- but fear that things will go wrong, and that those things will result in lost revenue and be expensive to fix is the sort of talk that gets enterprise people to sit up and listen.

Whether it's a tactic that will work remains to be seen, but that comment has given us a glimpse into Dell's game plan to sell Windows 8 tablets to business users.


Topic: Windows

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  • So them am I to take it that "Less than shiny" iPads are good for business?

    I've always found the "shine" to be troublesome myself.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • Leave out "shiny"

      and the man has a point. Trying to support the few iPads we have in our office is a nightmare. Thankfully, we will be switching those out for Win8 devices as soon as they become available. I'm not a decision maker at this organization... but I've snuck a glance at the roadmap :).

      It's not about the cost... it's about the product itself. "Enterprise Software" is not in Apple's vocabulary, and it shows when working in an enterprise. Competent company? If you knew where I worked, you'd understand just how stupid you are making yourself sound. Now off you go little one... there are grown ups talking.
      • Sounds like your company hire incompetent cheap personnel

        Given that every competent company using them spends very little supporting them.
      • This is probably what's behind the Windows 8/RT split

        Corporations are willing to pay high prices for devices that include extensive management support, because total costs are still far lower than paying support staff to deal with unmanaged devices like iPads, Android tablets or Windows RT tablets. Intel tablets running Windows 8 are almost certainly being aimed primarily at the corporate market, and will probably give Microsoft similar profits to corporate Windows PC sales.

        Windows RT licences will probably have much lower prices than Windows 8 licences (especially Professional or whatever they're calling it), and will go into low-cost tablets aimed at the consumer market, to challenge the iPad (and Android). This will mean lower unit profits for Microsoft, but serious users will still need a PC too (running Windows 8 or OS X).

        The beauty of the model is that both types of tablets will run the same Metro apps, but the high-priced Intel tablets for the business market will also run Windows desktop applications (including bespoke corporate applications), justifying the price premium. If Intel tablets take off in corporations, Windows RT tablets could benefit from the same sort of 'corporate standard' effect as Microsoft/Intel PCs did in the 1980s/90s. They started off dominating corporations, and then gradually spread to homes, sweeping away once successful home computers from the likes of Commodore, Apple, etc.

        If the 'Apollo' released of Windows Phone unifies Microsoft's desktop/notebook, tablet and phone lines, allowing all of them to run the same apps, they might finally have a winning hand in the phone market too.
  • ha....

    Reminds me of a somewhat famous quote: "Nobody will ever need more than 640k of memory."
    • ha ha...

      Reminds me of yet another somewhat famous quote: "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk,"
      -- Steve Jobs in 2008
      • Since the iPad comes in right around that number what's you point?

        Doh! Yeah, you yawn cuz you're stuck in the past.
    • Too bad that 'famous quote' was never said by anyone

      So not sure why you brought that in to the blog.
      William Farrel
  • Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,

    "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."

    Ya mean, like the Dell Streak? Or the Dell Ditty? Or the Dell Venue? Or every other sordid, abysmal attempt Dell has made at mobile computing?

    Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold.

    Right now, Dell is nothing more than roadkill on the iOS highway. The best they can hope for is to skin the poor dead critter and sell the pelt.
    • This happened to us just a couple of days ago ...

      ... on a Windows laptop. Everyone had to wait while we rebooted it.

      So yes, Dell is partly right. It didn't take four days this time, though.
    • End-user blindness... providing an abundance of laughter...

      Sythshyster, you may not realize it, but that little device you use is supported by many companies including American Tower, Crown Castle, Juniper, Cisco, Motorola, Dell, HP, IBM, 3Com, Force10, Amazon, Rackspace, Appriver, Awareness, Barracuda, EMC, Compellent, NetApp, EqualLogic, Force10, Birst, Callidus... I could go on.
      You may THINK Dell has failed in technology, they realize that they have no value-added services to generate revenue for end-devices, but do have expertise and intellectual property supporting end-user devices with IT-related infrastructure and services. There are switches, routers, security devices, servers, storage and application software that support that cute little consumer device. While you see $500 shiny devices, Dell sees devices and services that RUN the infrastructure and storage as an opportunity. When the latest consumer device becomes commoditized or unpopular (the latest Abercrombie or Walmart), Dell will still be part of those supporting the infrastructure.
      As the world gets dumbed down through icons, Dell is silently and strategicly designing and integrating more and more of the pieces required for your end device... and THAT technology requires more than pressing an icon.
  • No harder than Windows

    No harder than the mess that is Windows administration. Or Linux administration.

    It's just that IT folks may need to *shudder* learn something different *shudder*.

    It's amazing the lock, tie to MS solutions and the FUD about anything that is not MS.

    Hint: One of the biggest companies in the world does not run on MS solutions....
    • you are confused...

      Not sure that Apple has a useful alternative to AD. The entire practice of managing a network is no longer a business that Apple competes in. Xserve was a great platform, but couldn???t compete with Windows server. Not sure you know what you are talking about.

      Apple does in fact use Windows servers and technology in there bussiness and products. iCould was built on MS technology...

      Are you really an IT Guy?
      • No.

        Sure, there's this thing called OpenLDAP. It's an LADP server that works for Linux, OS X, AIX, and other LDAP enabled OS's. Not sure if it will authenticate Windows clients out of the box. Sadly MS chose to bastardize LDAP for AD so there's little that can be done there without GINA modifications.

        Apple used part of Azure to prove out iCloud before their datacenter was built. And they also used EC3 from Amazon. However their core data center stuff is definitely not Windows based and they manage all those Macs at all their locations and retail outlets with their own stuff. So someone is doing it and doing it well.

        IIRC they use SAP on AIX for their CRM/Supply Chain stuff. No MS there.

        Yes, I've been doing IT for a long time now. I think well outside the MS box....
      • Hmm

        "Apple does in fact use Windows servers and technology in there bussiness and products. iCould was built on MS technology..."

        Sooo Apple knows how to integrate iOS devices with MS tech but the rest of the IT world can't figure it out?
      • Was the windows portion of icloud

        the part that failed about a month ago.. I believe so...
        Once they move off azure, i believe they won't have more problems..
        Anthony E
      • @itguy10

        You are an exception and must be at a high-end enterprise IT shop. Must be an IBM shop at your enterprise data center. Other than the Microsoft ecosystem piggybacking on HP/Dell servers in America, the only credible ecosystem alternative and especially one that beats both in price and scale performance is IBM. Sun/Oracle used to do well and I do not know where they are now.

        If you are a high end IBM shop, then you should be doing good with IBM directory server. Why are you using openLDAP which is for all Linux shop cheapos? AIX and HP-UX are better unixes than Linux and FreeBSD if you really like Unix especially the certified ones. Linux is not even certified by Open Group. And it sucks at POSIX compliance if you ask me.
  • Ridiculous approach

    Sounds like they've got their head up their "proverbial orifice". "Our IT folks won't know how to fix it?" Yeah! And 20 years ago no one knew Java. With Apple selling 1 million iPads a month, guess what ... THEY'LL LEARN.

    And ESPECIALLY managers, etc., will be used to iPads. Their kids will be demanding them for school, etc. What are they gonna tell them? -- "Yes, honey, I know you want an iPad. But I'm going to buy you an Android-based tablet so if you have a problem in class, at the beach, etc., my IT guys will be able to fix it."

    Yeah, right! Software is software. Troubleshooting skills are troubleshooting skills. IT folks learn the products that are in demand, whether they are Windows, Linux, Linux under an alias, or OSwhatever.

    One thing it [b][i]does[/i][/b] make clear--the iPad is shuffling up [b][i]everything[/i][/b] and these guys [b][i]really[/i][/b] don't have a clue what to do about "the new normal".
  • It really is a pain...

    Have you ever tried connecting to an NFS share with one of these? How about accessing a CIFS created by EMC Celerra? It takes the environment DOWN. The problem is Apple doesn't care. If somebody wants to make the devices work in the enterprise, it is up to all of the vendors, not up to Apple (unlike Microsoft).

    These are a few of MANY issues with the iPad. But, call it "scare tactics". All IT administrators are aware of the headaches these consumer devices create in a professional IT environment. But then, again, most aren't used for creating anything useful... only for consuming stuff created with more powerful computers.
    • Sharepoint?

      Any one attempt to get an iPad to play nice with Sharepoint? It's ugly. The apps that are available frequently crash to the desktop. Oh, and also how everyone of the users expect it to work as smoothly as their windows 7 machines when it comes to networking and integration with other MS products? I've already wasted more time on this garbage then I'd care to remember.