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.