iPad slagging from HP, Dell sounds like sour grapes

Jared Newman
4 April, 2011
View more articles fromthe author

I love a good flame war between rival tech companies, but two recent attacks on Apple’s iPad by HP and Dell executives failed to stir my emotions, except one: sympathy.

Reading the remarks of Dell marketing head Andy Lark and HP senior vice president Stephen Dewitt made me feel sorry for both companies. Apple’s destroying them in the tablet market, and there’s not a whole lot they can say or do about it.

Dell’s Delusion

I feel pain for Lark, who for some reason said the following to CIO Australia about the iPad: “An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you’ll be at $1,500 or $1,600; that’s double of what you’re paying.” As PC World readers pointed out, an iPad mouse doesn’t exist, and if you add a keyboard and case to the priciest iPad, you still wouldn’t crack $1,000.

But that misguided comment isn’t my main concern. The bulk of Lark’s comments are about how Dell has taken a “considered approach to tablets” because the company does most of its business in the enterprise market. I interpret that to mean Dell wants to create Windows tablets – the company has been showing off a 10in concept device running Windows 7 – but right now, the software isn’t working in Dell’s favor. Windows 7 just isn’t designed for touchscreens, so Dell will not really be able to embrace tablets until Windows 8 comes around. Being powerless on the software front must be tough, especially while Apple is making its hardware thinner, lighter and faster.

HP’s Palaver

DeWitt’s iPad bashing is a little more obscure than Lark’s comments. Speaking at a conference for HP’s channel partners, DeWitt criticized the relationship Apple has with the companies that sell and service its products. “Apple’s relationship with partners is transactional, completely. Apple doesn’t have an inclusive philosophy of partner capabilities, and that’s just absurd,” he said.

I can’t speak for Apple’s channel partners, but it seems obvious to me why Apple might treat them as transactional: it can. The iPad 2 is selling out everywhere, and while DeWitt can talk all he wants about having an “inclusive philosophy,” what really matters in the end is whether the product is selling. And the iPad 2 is selling.

Besides, Apple doesn’t need channel partners nearly as desperately as they need Apple. Thanks to the Apple Store, the company already has its own point of sales, service and training. When an iPad breaks, Apple doesn’t need the Geek Squad. Its Genius Bar does the job. That must be frustrating for a company like HP.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the competition that the iPad will face this year. Android 3.0 got a rough start in the Motorola Xoom, but it’ll eventually come along; Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook deserves a chance, despite a lack of buzz; and HP’s TouchPad promises a whole bunch of features that the iPad lacks. But until Dell and HP actually launch products that can go toe-to-toe with the iPad, all they can do is talk. And they’re clearly running out of things to say.


2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Peter T. says:

    I don’t think anyone is listening to lark or Dell. These are the same nitwits who contend that you need a mouse to use an iPad.

  2. Jeff Fish says:

    I have an iPhone (and love it) but otherwise not an Apple user. All my business work requires Windows and some must-use websites require Flash. I do admire Apple’s technology and marketing, but an iPad just won’t do what I want in a tablet. The annoying spin and waffle from other tech companies is pathetic. They are getting absolutely smacked by Apple and obviously they are incapable of competing. Announcing “products” that don’t appear for months (if ever) is laughable and frustrating. At least Apple makes an attempt to service the Australia market on a timely basis. HP’s sloth and arrogance is embarrassing.

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments friendly on the topic.

Contact us