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Dell Talks About Making a Surface Tablet Rival

By - Source: SeekingAlpha | B 12 comments

It has been no secret that Dell is planning Windows RT devices, an entirely new product segment for the company.

But analysts fear that the Microsoft Surface will be a freight train flattening the opportunity for PC vendors, especially after vendors such as Acer have expressed their disappointment with the Windows maker. Dell is taking a different direction and carefully announces its own Surface intentions.

Dell's earnings results were not spectacular and just one more indication that these are tough times for PC makers. The problems in the economy, the wait for Windows 8 and the growing interest in tablets have turned into a perfect storm for PC makers that got them clearly scratching their heads and rethinking their product strategies. Complaining about Microsoft and its idea to build its own tablet has been one scenario we have seen recently and Dell clearly would have every reason to speak out against Microsoft as the company has been one of Microsoft's most loyal partners for more than two decades.

However, Dell did not complain and chose a much more careful path. In an answer to an analyst question how Dell would react to Surface, CFO Brian Gladden had this to say:

"As you think about Microsoft entering the [hardware] space, clearly, as we think about it, we've spent time talking to Microsoft and understanding sort of how they're thinking about it. There clearly are opportunities for us, as Windows 8 comes through, in having differentiated products. And, I think, at the same time, they have announced the Surface product that would be in the space, we will have products in there, and I think you'll see a diverse set of offerings that take advantage of what Windows 8 brings to market."

The interesting portion in this quote is "we will have products in there". Was this a statement just to calm analyst concerns that Dell could also be caught on the wrong foot with Surface? Was it just a casual note that Surface isn't a big deal and Dell will have differentiating products that can compete? Or is Dell already developing a Surface-like product?

The wording suggests that Dell will have a Surface-like product, possibly with a slightly different focus. Common sense suggests that Microsoft has a substantial interest in having such tablets available on a much greater scale than Surface can achieve by itself. In the end, Surface is a technology carrier for Windows RT and more innovative and appealing tablet products will help Windows RT succeed.

 

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    godfather666 , August 24, 2012 2:09 PM
    Better than Acer's cry-baby attitude.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    godfather666 , August 24, 2012 2:09 PM
    Better than Acer's cry-baby attitude.
  • 3 Hide
    Gundam288 , August 24, 2012 2:12 PM
    Quote:
    Was this a statement just to calm analyst concerns


    Yes, yes it was. Dell really hasn't been what they used to be years ago from what I've seen. I have no idea how Alienware is doing now a days but I don't think they are even what they used to be all those years ago when they first came out.

    Dell and HP along with other OEMs (IMHO) are going to have problems with Windows 8 and they know it.
  • 6 Hide
    ojas , August 24, 2012 2:13 PM
    godfather666Better than Acer's cry-baby attitude.

    Exactly.
  • -7 Hide
    nebun , August 24, 2012 2:36 PM
    wasn't there an article stating that DELL is not a PC maker anymore?...a surface tablet is a PC....that guy can't make up his mind.
  • 5 Hide
    mcd023 , August 24, 2012 2:41 PM
    I don't think that the surface will do too much damage, since it's marketed as a high-end device. The mid-range, low-end, and reader oriented tablets (I'm assuming that someone will make a 7" RT) should be in a different market.
  • 1 Hide
    greghome , August 24, 2012 3:21 PM
    gundam288Yes, yes it was. Dell really hasn't been what they used to be years ago from what I've seen. I have no idea how Alienware is doing now a days but I don't think they are even what they used to be all those years ago when they first came out.Dell and HP along with other OEMs (IMHO) are going to have problems with Windows 8 and they know it.


    Let's just say from a retailers point of view, it's getting hard to sell them.

    a similarly spec'ed Lenovo Y580 could cost at least 200 USD less.......with a Full HD screen......
  • 1 Hide
    subaru41 , August 24, 2012 3:31 PM
    This is a smart move on Dell. They need to change their business tactics to get back in the game if they want to be competitive.
  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , August 24, 2012 3:32 PM
    nebunwasn't there an article stating that DELL is not a PC maker anymore?...a surface tablet is a PC....that guy can't make up his mind.

    Dell is a PC maker, but PCs have not been their primary market for YEARS. They are really into business servers, support, and infrastructure, and in that market they are doing very well (because they have some great products available).

    I think Dell needs to take a long hard look at the business use of tablets as they will be eaten alive trying to fight off the host of cheap consumer android tablets. I was at a school the other day where they just bought a bunch of iPads. My first thought was "what were you thinking!!!!" but after talking with them for a little while I began to see their reasoning. When the day is done, you plug the tablet into the rack. Overnight the tablet is charged, wiped clean, all software is updated, the cart manages all of the program liscences for them, and then the teachers have a web interface for all their software so that no data is stored locally. I still think the iPads are too expensive for a glorified internet interface, but I get the idea why they wanted it; there is extremely little support involved in the purchase, which in the long run will more than pay for the cost of the hardware.
    The thing is that Dell and other business oriented companies need to come up with a similar product (be it on Windows or some other software platform) which allows for similar operation and maintenance with cheaper up-front hardware costs. Or even simply make a tablet with a build in credit card scanner and wifi/2g/3g/4g service so that companies can have a roaming POS terminal which hooks into an online check-out service like quickbooks... that would sell like crazy for small-mid service oriented businesses such as locksmiths, HVAC repair, or other on-site companies. It is possible for them to do it now with a laptop and CC slider, but it would be a much more convincing tool to have the same functionality in a small cheap form factor that is easier to manage, easier to lock down than a traditional laptop, and easier to replace if damaged while on the go.
  • 2 Hide
    SGTgimpy , August 24, 2012 5:44 PM
    The problem that has been long standing with all the OEMs and the biggest reason why Microsoft is building the Surface is because all the OEMs lost their creativity and innovation to make great products. This issue has been hurting Microsoft image for years because everyone blames Windows when the crap hardware or drivers are not up to par with what they should be causing the system to run subpar. This why Apple can charge a premium price for their products, It’s like comparing a Toyota (PC OEMs) to a Mercedes (Apple). Whether you hate them or love them, you have to admit, Apples products are a lot better creatively designed and better quality than anything HP, Dell, or Acer has produced in some time.

    I had a MacBook Pro first Gen Intel from 2006. That thing took one hell of a beating over 5 years of use. Never once did it have a problem and is still working to this day in the hands of a friend. I bought a HP Elitebook as my travel work computer 2 years ago and that thing didn't last 1 year without physically falling apart.

    As an IT Director it is hard for me to feel bad for these OEMs when I have had to deal with their lack of effort and quality from them over the years costing our company more money because of the crappy products. When you buy a business level device you usually pay for more for quality but now you pay more for a longer warranty because you will need it and that is just sad.

    I applaud Microsoft for taking this step in lighting a fire the OEM's A**. Either the OEMs will wake and understand that they need to either start making better products and it’s time to go away.
  • 0 Hide
    SGTgimpy , August 24, 2012 5:47 PM
    Correction (you really need an edit button on here"

    "I applaud Microsoft for taking this step in lighting a fire the OEM's A**. Either the OEMs will wake up and understand that they need to either start making better products or it’s time to go away.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , August 24, 2012 7:09 PM
    caedenvDell is a PC maker, but PCs have not been their primary market for YEARS. They are really into business servers, support, and infrastructure, and in that market they are doing very well (because they have some great products available).I think Dell needs to take a long hard look at the business use of tablets as they will be eaten alive trying to fight off the host of cheap consumer android tablets. I was at a school the other day where they just bought a bunch of iPads. My first thought was "what were you thinking!!!!" but after talking with them for a little while I began to see their reasoning. When the day is done, you plug the tablet into the rack. Overnight the tablet is charged, wiped clean, all software is updated, the cart manages all of the program liscences for them, and then the teachers have a web interface for all their software so that no data is stored locally. I still think the iPads are too expensive for a glorified internet interface, but I get the idea why they wanted it; there is extremely little support involved in the purchase, which in the long run will more than pay for the cost of the hardware.The thing is that Dell and other business oriented companies need to come up with a similar product (be it on Windows or some other software platform) which allows for similar operation and maintenance with cheaper up-front hardware costs. Or even simply make a tablet with a build in credit card scanner and wifi/2g/3g/4g service so that companies can have a roaming POS terminal which hooks into an online check-out service like quickbooks... that would sell like crazy for small-mid service oriented businesses such as locksmiths, HVAC repair, or other on-site companies. It is possible for them to do it now with a laptop and CC slider, but it would be a much more convincing tool to have the same functionality in a small cheap form factor that is easier to manage, easier to lock down than a traditional laptop, and easier to replace if damaged while on the go.

    so if they are into the business market then how come they are selling PCs to everyone?
  • 1 Hide
    misterawsome , August 24, 2012 8:41 PM
    Breaking news: Acer is going to make a tablet with a keyboard attached and a trackpad