Dell chief: PC market 'still matters', despite difficulties ahead

Dell's founder and chief executive believes the PC still has room to move, as software and services rise to the challenge

Speaking at Cloudforce 2011 in London, Dell's founder and chief executive Michael Dell told the audience that there is still "big room" for the PC, despite some difficulties ahead in the market.

Discussing the invasion of tablets and cloud computing, as well as HP's withdrawal from the PC and tablet market, the global PC marketshare offered by Dell is set to rise even in an age where tablets seem to be the next big thing.

Dell's strategy, he went on to say, is "very different" from HP's, and its PC operations is "distinct" in comparison to many of its competitors. Already branching out to provide solutions to customer problems, Dell would rather not 'just' sell them hardware, in favour of working closer with customers to problem solve than act as merely a PC seller.

There is no question that HP's PC and tablet spin-off would have effect on the slowing-down PC market, but Dell is set to reclaim some of HP's marketshare from its current 12.9 percent share compared to HP's 18.1 percent.

But while Dell has some work to do in catching up to HP's share, the computing giant still has two elements beyond its hardware ventures to focus on: software and services.

"Software is great, but you have to run it on something", he said, adding: "We do believe the value will shift to software services but even as it evolves hardware won't go away".

But as the PC market appears to dwindle, Dell acknowledges that his company has an advantage over its competitors in the smaller, "more lucrative" server market. Equally, though the PC will reign on in the computing industry, propped up by the new king-maker in the marketshare statistics, Dell also plans to maintain its tablet competitive edge.

Speaking to the FT, he acknowledged Gartner's predictions that there will be two billion PCs in use by 2014; a figure which lines up with the current 364 million PCs expected to be shipped in 2011 alone, nearly 4 percent up on the previous year.

Dell's commitment to hardware and the PC may not come as a surprise to many, but after HP's decision to take a permanent leave of absence from the PC and tablet market; some thought it could precipitate the end-game scenario for the humble PC.

Instead, Dell and other competitors look set to take advantage of the dip in HP's own long-term financial stability and focus on their own hardware, in a bid to fill the void left behind by HP's all but inevitable sell-off.