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Dell is aggressively targeting the tablet market, but it will leave phones to others

After a successful shareholder vote, and financing help from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) among others, Michael Dell finally has the leverage he needs to take his company private.  While he'll still have private investors to answer to, and will still have to solve his company's dramatic slide in the PC market, he will at least be able to tackle these issues without being over scrutinized by the media.

Michael Dell, in an interview with CNBC on Friday morning, said, "[Going private] will open an exciting new chapter [for Dell and its customers]."

Going ahead, he says his company will focus on five key goals:
  1. Improving enterprise hardware/software offerings
  2. Expanded sales capacity
  3. Targeting emerging markets
  4. Improving buyer experiences
  5. Building better PCs/tablets

Dell showed off a bit of its strategy for that final point at the 2013 Intel Developer Forum (2013 IDF) this week, teasing at the upcoming Dell Venue tablet line, based on Intel Corp.'s (INTC) new Bay Trail chops.

Notably not on the list are "smartphones".  Dell has played with the segment in the past, launching the Dell Aero -- a budget Android model in early 2010 -- followed by the fancier Dell Venue (Android) and Dell Venue Pro (Windows Phone 7) later this year.  But none of these phones achieved major sales success, and by mid-2012 Dell had quietly pulled the plug on this fledgling project.

Dell Venue Pro
While better looking, the Dell Venue Pro did not produce sufficient sales for Dell to continue the expensive business of smartphone development.

On Friday Michael Dell quashed any hopes of a Dell smartphone comeback, while vowing that his company would deliver great mobile product in other segments like tablets.

Source: CNBC



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RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By Samus on 9/13/2013 11:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
I Agree. Dell should make phones!

With Blackberry on the cliff and HP/Palm out of the game, who is left to make enterprise-class phones? Samsung? Apple? Are you kidding me? Motorola had some iffy attempts with the Droid Pro and its spinoffs (like the Sprint XPRT) but realistically if Dell pulled this off, there would be nobody to challenge them.

What could make it really special is if they supported WP and Android on similar hardware, giving ultimate consumer choice. They're in the position to do this when nobody else is (although Samsung has tried and failed with their GSIII-esque WP8 offering)


RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By Motoman on 9/14/2013 12:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
There's no sense at all in refusing to sell phones...you need the whole continuum of computers, starting with phones, then tablets, then laptops, and desktops (and of course servers and whatever else if you're going to be Dell).

Even just from the standpoint of being a single vendor of choice to large enterprise. Just contract with HTC or somebody to re-label a decent phone. Slap a Dell sticker on it and call it done.

But saying you're going to abdicate that market all together is just stupidity.


RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By troysavary on 9/14/2013 6:55:01 AM , Rating: 2
Why, no one in the phone market except Apple and Samsung, and maybe Nokia, are making money at it. The North American market is all about carrier subsidies, and if they can't get the carriers to bend over for them, they won't sell. The emerging markets are filled with budget Chinese devices and I doubt Dell wants to get into another race to the bottom like that.


RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By Motoman on 9/14/2013 11:09:54 AM , Rating: 2
They don't have to. As I mentioned, all they need to do is pick a partner and relabel a model or two, and then put it in their catalog.


By Flunk on 9/14/2013 12:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
HTC would be a good choice. They've worked together before, all of Dell's Axim Pocket PC's were made by HTC. They're also not in a position to say no or demand too much.

Dell is really shooting themselves in the foot here. Top to bottom market integration is what sells Apple and Samsung products. Happy customers come back for more.


RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By troysavary on 9/15/2013 6:40:58 AM , Rating: 2
So you are saying they should be selling Windows Phones, since you are basing your argument on top-to-bottom integration?


By Motoman on 9/15/2013 7:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Meh. Doesn't matter. You can integrate Exchange into Android phones just as easily as Windows phones...and that's all that really matters.


By YearOfTheDingo on 9/15/2013 10:34:32 AM , Rating: 2
It probably make sense for them to try to figure out their overall strategy first and then try to see how smartphones fit in. It's all about selling services to businesses. A player like Dell will sell generate enough volume to make it a profitable venture.


RE: has anyone seen one of these in the wild?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2013 9:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
Making "enterprise class" smartphones sounds like a one way ticket to obsolescence and profit-loss. Especially with BYOD (bring your own device) being the prevailing policy for most companies anyway. Because nobody wants to juggle one phone for work, and one phone for personal use.

quote:
(although Samsung has tried and failed with their GSIII-esque WP8 offering)


That's because nobody wanted a Windows Phone. The devices themselves have been fine.

If Samsung couldn't pull it off, as you say, what possible hope in Hell does Dell have in doing so?


By melgross on 9/14/2013 12:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
While I wouldn't say that Dell does have a chance, because I don't think they do, Samsung isn't really interested in selling Win Phone. It's very likely the only reason they're still doing it is the same reason HTC is still doing it. It's so that Microsoft doesn't charge them the full licensing fee they're charging other Android phone makers who aren't making Win Phone. In HTC's case, they're too small, and are doing too poorly to afford it, and in the case of Samsung, they're probably saving more this way than their total costs for producing the very small number of Win Phone's that they are, so they come out ahead of the game.


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