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Michael Dell on Surface tablet: 'The impact will be limited'

Tom Spring | Sept. 27, 2012
Michael Dell has reached a crossroads.

PCW: You've said that Dell wants to offer customers more than just a smartphone or tablet. What type of total solution are you talking about?

Dell: Were focused on the entire IT ecosystem. The devices our customers use to generate and consume information are a critical starting point, and that remains very important to us. We have some of the best products in the marketplace. For example, Dell Precision workstations and our XPS ultrabooks. But we recognize that PCs are just part of the picture. We have leading capabilities to manage customer information seamlessly and securely in multiple-device and BYOD environments, including virtualized desktop that you can access from any device.

But beyond devices is an ecosystem of networking, storage, security, servers, virtualization, and cloud. This is where a lot of the opportunity in IT resides and where we believe we can lead. The total solution is world-class devices backed by world-class infrastructure and services that support, connect, manage, and secure customer information. If the only tool in your box is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. Weve built a toolbox of customizable, scalable, flexible end-to-end solutions that put the customer first, not the technology or service were trying to sell.

PCW: Microsoft is getting into the computer hardware business via its Surface tablets. Is this good or bad for OEMs in general, and what's your take on the impact of Microsoft's hardware aspirations on Dell specifically?

Dell: I think the impact will be limited, given the number of units they expect to ship. Microsoft developed the product largely as a reference architectureto set a baseline for Windows 8 user experience. Were aligning a significant portion of our product development with Windows 8, and we think it offers some great, new capabilities. Anything Microsoft does to support faster Windows 8 adoption is fine by Dell. However, our focus is less on their plans and more on designing and delivering compelling Dell products and solutions.

PCW: Where do you hope to take the notebook and computing with Windows 8? Dell showed a really snazzy convertible notebook at IFA last month. What can we expect, and when?

Dell: Were working closely with Microsoft to ensure our Windows 8 products deliver the best user experience possible. Along with the XPS 12 you mentioned, we also introduced the XPS 10, a tablet with a mobile keyboard dock, and the XPS One 27 all-in-one PC with touch, all of which are designed for Win 8. Well be introducing other products for consumers and businesses closer to launch. We understand our customers evolving IT needs perhaps better than anyone [else] in our industry, and that insight is baked into all of our new solutions.


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