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Michael Dell Dismisses Tablet Threat To the PC Market

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the newton-shall-rise-again dept.

Businesses 352

alphadogg writes with an excerpt from a Network World article: "The PC is not likely to be challenged by the tablet or the smartphone, and many users of the Internet on these devices will turn to the PC for a better experience, Michael Dell said in Bangalore on Monday. If you were going off to college and could only have one device, you would choose the PC over a smartphone or a tablet, said Dell, whose company also sells smartphones. 'If you could have two devices, then you would probably choose the phone before the tablet,' the Dell CEO added."

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Also, if you owned Apple (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645086)

You would probably want to shut it down and return the money to the stock holders.

Re:Also, if you owned Apple (0, Offtopic)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645402)

DAMNIT!!!! Where's my fucking mod points when I really *REALLY* want them!!! :) :)

Re:Also, if you owned Apple (-1, Flamebait)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645480)

seriously, marked down? well, fuck you then, you stupid moderator.

Re:Also, if you owned Apple (-1, Offtopic)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645930)

I miss the days when moderation was done by people with half a brain, these days it's more than you can hope for.

Re:Also, if you owned Apple (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646042)

I love how the folks with mod points love to prove folks right about the crappiness of the mod system.

He's probably right. (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645090)

Trying to do much REAL WORK(tm) on a tablet is an exercise in frustration. By the time you add a keyboard and mouse so that you can be even marginally productive you might as well get the tablet so that you can work even where/when there isn't a wireless network.

The tablet's niche is on the couch or the train or the bus.

Only a threat in multiple computer households (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645138)

Agreed. On the other hand, I imagine that a fair number of the tablets sold went to people who were thinking about buying a laptop/netbook as a second computer, but then opted for the tablet instead.

Re:Only a threat in multiple computer households (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645210)

Hmm, at least in IT, a laptop is usually highly desirable so most ppl have em, but a lot of people especially recently have acquired tablets as well, the tablet is more convenient for some stuff, especially network related, where local cpu doesn't matter. It's also great for taking notes, keeping organized, etc...

I guess it can be compared to a laptop / netbook (more the latter), but I think it's more to supplement the former. Also try comparing an ipad to an ibook to better picture it, the former is not a replacement for the latter.

Re:Only a threat in multiple computer households (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645574)

I have to agree. Laptop first and foremost. Tablets are great (using a kindle fire to post) but they're supplemental.

I don't know why smartphones became part of their conversation at all.

Re:Only a threat in multiple computer households (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645616)

Which is what I did. An ASUS Transformer w/keyboard dock. And I then found out it is a poor replacement for a laptop, and too damned expensive to use as an e-reader. I sold it on EBay 4 months after purchase and bought a cheap laptop.

The Transformer was much cooler, but I can actually get productive work done on the laptop.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645140)

He is right. Though they are a threat to consoles, and other handheld gaming devices.

Re:He's probably right. (0)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645394)

No, they are not a threat to consoles or other handheld gaming devices. At least not yet anyway. They may steal a little market share from handheld gaming devices, but without decent hardware d-pads and other buttons for fire, jump, etc, laid out in a useable fashion for gaming, you can pretty much rule out any serious gaming. And yes, I now most Android phones have a d-pad of some sort, but they're next to useless for anything like a FPS.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

brentrad (1013501) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646022)

Granted it's not built right into the tablet so slightly less convenient, but it's super easy to connect a Wii controller (including Classic Controller) to a tablet via bluetooth, using a free app from the Market (no root required.) Works great with emulators, and a bunch of Market games. And Android since 3.1 includes USB gamepad support (if you have USB ports, like on the Asus Transformer keyboard dock or built into some like the Acer tablets. Just grab your tablet and Wii controller, and you can play Super Mario 3 on the couch or anywhere. :)

I've found myself gaming a lot more (even purchasing games, which is unprecedented for me) since I've bought my tablet. I think it helps that a) the tablet does a LOT more than just gaming - which is likely why I never purchased a handheld console, and b) tablet games tend to cost in the $5 range, rather than the $50 range that most console games cost.

FPS though? I'm just not interested. Platformers now...lots of good ones on Android.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

BlueStraggler (765543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645144)

Sorry, why are you adding a mouse?

Re:He's probably right. (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645218)

Sorry, why are you adding a mouse?

Because keyboard and touch screen is a combination that just doesn't work. I've tried it, and found it just easier to add a bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo rather than reaching across my keyboard to touch the tablet all the time. Touch screen cursor placement is finicky on the best of tablets. And any amount of typing beyond the short email is a hopeless productivity killer.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645286)

Probably could use a trackpad, but either case is far more accurate and efficient than touch (for example you can get text cursor accuracy on touch but it's not as fast as using a mouse/trackpad). And then of course there's reaching over the keyboard everytime you want to select something.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645182)

And the train or bus is where my desktop sucks, but for a measly $500 I built myself a great desktop that used my existing 23" monitor, and spent just another $799 on an iPad for mobile. Best of both worlds. If I was going to university again, this is the setup I would have loved, actually, I'd go one better, make sure the desktop also has hdmi out and go to a 40" display 8)
TV, music, videos, streaming, office apps and a remote clie t for them all!

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645190)

The tablet's niche in academia is note-taking by hand interspersed with book-reading, things you'd do in class. It would make the most sense to use a tablet in class and a desktop to do the heavy lifting at home.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645368)

The tablet's niche in academia is note-taking by hand interspersed with book-reading, things you'd do in class. It would make the most sense to use a tablet in class and a desktop to do the heavy lifting at home.

Even then, you have to wonder hoe much real note taking actually happens on these devices given the cramped keyboards, dearth of writing space, and the inability to type on a touch screen without watching it consantly. I suspect I could write just as fast and translate to my desktop later. I can also touch type on a real keyboard while watching what ever is going onto the board at the front of the room.

I wonder how many sitting in lecture halls are really facebooking their way thru boring presentations, while recording the audio for later?

Some of the better instructors are pushing links and documents directly to the tablets, and that may be where these things really shine in the class room.

Re:He's probably right. (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645212)

No he's not right. Since the 90s, the "Computer" business has been primarily consumer driven. Which, for the majority of the population, is no longer a desktop, and less and less a laptop.

If Michal Dell wants to ignore the the metrics that made his company a household name in the first place, that's pretty damned stupid.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645490)

Since the 90s, the "Computer" business has been primarily consumer driven.

And this information comes from...?

Re:He's probably right. (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645592)

It seems more a redundant comment than a questionable one.
I mean, they didnt give away computers in the 90s.

Re:He's probably right. (0)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646050)

And this information comes from...?

Personal histories, mine and thousands of other geeks I've talked to over the decades. Thousands of articles and editorials over the same span, etc.

Seriously, this is not a [citation needed] occasion. If you've been in the biz long enough, this is basic stuff.

Re:He's probably right. (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645572)

What makes you think he was ever all that smart? Dell didn't get to where it is through innovative products; it got there through, at best, innovative and efficient manufacturing and ordering and low prices. They made it easy to configure a PC or server exactly the way you want it with a large array of options, and purchase it, with a very low price. There's no product innovation there, their products were nothing more than white-box PCs. They just made it easy for people to buy them. Plus, they started with desktop PCs and later added servers and laptops; they followed the market. Did Dell ever create anything innovative or lead the market in any way (I mean, create a new market the way Apple did with the iPad, where many others tried to sell tablets and make them popular and no one cared, but then Apple made one and suddenly it's a whole new market and not some tiny niche)? Nope. They're like Walmart: they see stuff that other people are doing, copy it, and try to do it a little better and more efficiently and with lower prices and profit in the process.

Now it looks like they're getting a little set in their ways. Or, maybe he has the right idea: maybe he knows that if he tries to make a copycat tablet and sell it, that it's just going to bomb, since it seems that for whatever reason, only the iPad is actually selling like gangbusters in the tablet market. Part of this may be the tie-in to the Apple app store, which effectively locks out competition since you can't run iOS apps on non-Apple machines. So instead of trying to do a me-too product and fail, or just ignoring it altogether, he's trying to downplay it and convince people to stick with the products his company is good at. Remember, part of the job of a CEO is lying to people just like a salesman, to try to sell his company's shit, except worse since a CEO's public remarks can have huge effects on both his own company and the marketplace.

Re:He's probably right. (3, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645686)

You're assuming consumers never do real work, which is not a good assumption. Lots of people need to work from home now and then. And not just the people in techie professions, but teachers and reporters and managers and so on. None of those people will choose a tablet in place of a PC. And then there are the tens of millions of people who play video games like WoW or CoD. And there's the ever growing blogging world, whose members would likely prefer to write up their posts with a real keyboard.

Tablets represent a real threat to the laptop market, and may outright kill the netbook. But the PC has some major advantages that will allow it to remain the top choice for most people (who may also buy a tablet to go along with it!), at least until we get a sufficiently good docking system that can allow a tablet double as a PC.

Re:He's probably right. (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645230)

Trying to do much REAL WORK(tm) on a tablet is an exercise in frustration.

What you say is true, but for most people, "real work" means text editing, taxes, Quicken, maybe some photo organizing. Any computer made since 2006 is more than adequate until XP goes dark in 2014. If people get on an 8-year upgrade cycle for desktops/laptops, Dell is in for a real hard decade.

Re:He's probably right. (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645276)

The problem is that a very large amount of people don't do what you would consider "real work"--they only want to check email, browse YouTube, and visit Facebook, and they only have PCs because it was the only way they could do those things previously. Michael Dell has a vested interest in telling people that PCs will rule forever, but I have to tell you, having a portable computer that you don't have to spend hours of maintenance on every week is really, really nice, especially in bed or on the couch.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645740)

"Michael Dell has a vested interest in telling people that PCs will rule forever"

Well he also should have a vested interest in making sure he does not miss out on the tablet market which is Dell's number one threat.

Take a look at this statistic [statcounter.com] from poorer, but high-tech India? Yep, that is right. By April more Indians will use a phone/tablet than a desktop to browse the net, answer emails, run skype, etc.

Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe is where the growth markets are. These people will use phones and not PCS for internet access as this link shows.

Even back in the 1st workd, once people realize you do not need a big expensive bulky crappy Windows desktop they will stop using them. Then what Dell? I hope it has a plan?

IBM tried to stop servers, spread FUD showing every business with more than 50 people needs a mainframe, etc. How well did that work?

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645924)

And who says you can't get this with a PC? A PC just has a maintenance heavy OS. You can replace the OS and maintain all the benefits of owning a PC. Heck I'm typing this on an openSUSE netbook. The new EEE PC X101 series, Macbook Air like size without the price tag. I have updates occur transparently in the background. It's good for real work, good for messing around on the net, and is maintenance free.
I have a tablet and I find it frustrating to use. It is too under-powered for messing around on the net. Can't surf one handed (there are any number of reasons outside of the obvious one why this would be nice.) Using for Real Work(TM) is an exercise in masochism. Basically I keep boiling back down to "it'd be great if something held the screen up, it had a keyboard, maybe more powerful CPU, USB ports, more storage, more functional OS" and eventually I just end up describing a laptop running Linux.

Re:He's probably right. (0)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645324)

Define real work. With just a keyboard, a tablet is extremely productive for note taking, email, and organization, which is pretty much all most college students do. Tablets can wirelessly print these days too. It's a great form factor for carrying with you, without the huge bulk of a laptop bag.

For high end students like CS students? Dell is more correct, a PC would be first priority, followed by a tablet. You can't and shouldn't be doing technical work like coding on a tablet. Dell has a pretty narrow vision here of what tablets are capable of. And it's not hard to see a world in which high end students using campus provided labs for the big stuff, and tablets for everything else.

For someone who claims to not believe in tablets, Michael Dell seems to be trying hard to break into the market. Maybe his lack of understanding about tablets is why Dell is having problems getting into the market. Apple certainly sells a lot of them for a nonexistent market.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645698)

And it's not hard to see a world in which high end students using campus provided labs for the big stuff, and tablets for everything else.

Actually, that's pretty hard to see for me. Back in the old days (pre-90s), colleges did indeed have computer labs, since students certainly couldn't afford their own Unix or Prime machines back then, and Commodores weren't really sufficient for teaching CS classes or for use with more serious applications like registering for classes. But then, through the 90s, the computer labs slowly disappeared, as students bought their own PCs that were now more capable. Before long, colleges required students to have their own computer, so many of them had to sign up for loans to buy a PC. With all the students having their own computer and network access, why would a college need to spend money equipping and maintaining a computer lab? For printers? Nope, they just tell the students to go buy an inkjet.

I graduated in 1997, but I imagine that computer labs are pretty rare these days. After all, why spend all that money to provide some capabilities that students can just buy at Walmart or Best Buy or Dell.com, when you can use the saved money to give the University President a big raise?

Now you're saying that colleges should bring back their computer labs so that students don't have to carry as much stuff around? Why would they do that? College costs have been rising massively over the last 10-20 years (and coincidentally, Univ. President salaries have shot through the roof in that time), so obviously colleges don't care much about how much financial burden their students are under, they expect them to just go get giant student loans to pay for it all. Why would they provide a service of questionable utility to students when they can just require the students to buy a laptop and printer themselves?

Re:He's probably right. (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645804)

Computer labs are still pretty common because CS student deal with specialized machines. A university can't expect students to have a 16 core machine for multicore work, a Tesla for GPGPU programming, or a cluster for cluster work. Because CS is includes learning about the next big thing (at least it should be at a decent school), CS programs are always a step ahead of what the student usually has at home.

Now, that said, no, you don't need a 16 core box for introductory Java, and yes, when I graduated last year a lot of student still had laptops. But often the laptops were just used to remote into a more powerful lab machine. Lab machines are also generally required in CS programs because you don't want to have to deal with the Windows students when you're teaching a UNIX course (or walk the students through what IDE/compiler is best for their platform.) Labs add a degree of consistency to the program. Don't know how to setup your home machine? Great, you have a lab one with all the software already licensed.

Which is another good point. You can't really expect every student has MATLAB at home.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645808)

They suck for doing work or even writting witty responses in slashdot. :-)

I replied on Andriod and I always get responses critizing grammar and sentence structure etc. A keyboard rocks for college students writing papers. However, for consuming time wasting tweets a cell phone is better.

For now desktops rule for work but I expect that to change once Windows 9 puts the taskbar back (corporate America will shun Metro like it did Vista) and Office 2012 comes out METRO-ized it might become competitive for poor people.

For $439 you can get a AMD Llano laptop with even enough GPU to run SWTOR under medium settings believe it or not. Once they hit $399 they are in the same pricing as medium grade tablets so my guess is college students will buy them to game and write papers. This assumes they do not waste their student loans buying macs like 70% seem to do.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645866)

"I replied on Andriod and I always get responses critizing grammar and sentence structure etc. A keyboard rocks for college students writing papers. However, for consuming time wasting tweets a cell phone is better."

I'm not sure the keyboard thing is a big issue. Like I said, you can couple a tablet with a keyboard. With my iPad, I have a little bluetooth keyboard for when I need it, and the advantage of more mobility when I don't. (Try carrying and using a calendar or email program on an open laptop while you're walking around, probably not going to end well.)

Re:He's probably right. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645810)

For someone who claims to not believe in tablets, Michael Dell seems to be trying hard to break into the market. Maybe his lack of understanding about tablets is why Dell is having problems getting into the market. Apple certainly sells a lot of them for a nonexistent market.

He didn't claim that.
He doesn't believe that.
Stop putting words in his mouth.

All he said was that the death of the desktop/laptop is no where close.

With JUST a keyboard a tablet becomes good for note taking, not great, just good. But you might as well have a netbook or small laptop as try to balance a tablet and a keyboard on your knees in the lecture hall. Tablets are easier to carry, and that's about it. Doing any task on them without a bag full of accessories is a a mess.

Look, I have two tablets, and a smartphone, a couple nooks and a good size laptop. I might take the tablet on vacation with the phone and nook, but I would never go on a business trip without the laptop and all my source code, and the ability to put together a professional looking document.

I will bet you dollars to donuts that I can take better notes faster in a spiral notebook than you can on a tablet. But then, I'm old school.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645902)

"I will bet you dollars to donuts that I can take better notes faster in a spiral notebook than you can on a tablet. But then, I'm old school."

So... we should all be using spiral notebooks? Not sure what you're getting at.

Keyboard with my iPad means I can do all the real document work I need to, at laptop speeds. iOS has a full version of Pages with good feature parity of the desktop version, so I can do all the professional fancy word documents and presentations that I need to.

Really, the biggest disadvantage to the iPad is the screen size, which is also why I don't do coding on it. All this talk about input functionality is missing the mark. Tablets have got the keyboards and they've got the software (at least on iOS side.)

Re:He's probably right. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645336)

I wouldn't necessarily say that people would choose a PC for their "one device", people are insanely attached to their phones and might choose to try to hack it on a phone (although I never would). But he's absolutely right that if you can choose only two devices, people will want a PC and a phone.

Re:He's probably right. (4, Interesting)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645418)

At work, there's a couple of VPs whose passwords expired because they haven't logged in to their windows PC, but have been using their ipad/iphone for everything.

So, different uses for different people.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645838)

At work, there's a couple of VPs whose passwords expired because they haven't logged in to their windows PC, but have been using their ipad/iphone for everything.

Which I would wager isn't much of anything. They probably do most of their work on the phone. VPs and doctors have about the same aversion to keyboards I've noticed.

Re:He's probably right. (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645460)

Maybe in the US you are right.

Check out internet usage in a poorer country that thrives on internet access [statcounter.com] compared to the US? [statcounter.com]

India cited is just an example of where by this spring more Indians will use IOS or Andriod to read the news, browse the net, and do other things than a desktop!

The US is a mature market where people only buy new equipment when it breaks down. No growth market here. Just look at backward corporate America being run by CFOs dirt cheap on believing any investment in tech like newer than IE 6 is always an expense and not an investment? Consumers are poorer now than ever and feel no need to upgrade. India in comparison is a HUGE growth market, as well as the rest of Asia and Eastern Europe and is where the money is. Dell will only be relevant in some offices and government buildings, while their citizens will prefer tablets, phones, and netbooks. Also most employers in these countries are much smaller and do not mind running it on a phone or tablet unlike the US. They simply do not have the capital to buy 2-3 desktops running full versions of Office, Quickbooks, Windows etc.

If Michael Dell wont tap into that market a competitor will. I would sell Dell stock if I owned any right now. You can hate tablet UIs like Metro all you want. The real money is in these devices and PC is going the way of the mini computer and mainframe FAST.

The keyboard and mouse is probably going to go away too as Windows 8 is frustrating and almost useless with it. We will all be using our screens as big cell phones running only one app at a time, unless MS makes BIG changes to metro like porting the taskbar. Without that and overlapping Windows I am holding out on Windows 7 myself. However, if I were only making $4600 a year in India, a smartphone would be a much better bet for me.

Re:He's probably right. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645506)

right now on my desk is a nook color, a laptop, a desktop and a smartphone. each has it's places and uses. The laptop for travel computing, the desktop for games, the smartphone for staying connected and the nook color for reading, minor web surfing.

I find it useful to have to nook opened to a website on a particular game I am playing so i have notes on hand, and can look up quick item facts. the nook also lasts 6 hours of continuous use so I don't' have to recharge it as often.

I went on vacation for 5 days taking my laptop my nook and my phone. I had to recharge the nook once, and the laptop not at all since I was on vacation and didn't need to do a lot of real work.

Tablets are a complement to laptops and desktops. they will lower sales some, but one works off the other. Besides you can setup you desktop as a local cloud, to store files for your mobile devices quite easily.

He *is* right (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645728)

PCs are both consumption and production devices.

Tablets are limited in what they can produce, both by the touch interface and by the landscape of available software. Sure, you can make a video on a tablet (if it has a camera) but doing anything more than remedial video editing is a no-go. Still graphics production is, even if there were equivalents to GIMP/Photoshop/Illustrator/etc, an exercise in masochism. Even working on a spreadsheet is infuriating. Playing any PC or console game? Forget about it, unless the game is ported to a tablet platform... and even then the UI will be hobbled/dumbed down.

Phones take the tablet limitations even further due to their reduced size, even though their processing power is for the most part equivalent.

So, if limited to one device: laptop, no question about it. Two devices: laptop and phone. After all, a tablet is either a weak PC without a keyboard attached, or an oversized phone that can't make cellular calls. There's nothing a tablet can do that the other two can't.

Re:He's probably right. (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645832)

Real work? Depends on what you mean. A new tool often *redefines* what "real" work is, although we'll have to wait and see. I certainly see tablets taking over much of the information *consumption* tasks done on a desktop computer.

This is how it has always worked. We didn't stop using mainframes when minicomputers came along; some of the tasks that used to be done in major datacenters were moved out to smaller installations and big iron actually bifurcated into two new market segments, each larger than the parent: high performance computing for weather prediction and such, and mainframes for moving vast volumes of data around ultra-reliably.

When PCs came along people stopped doing most interactive work directly on mini-computers via dumb terminals. We renamed "minicomputers" "servers" and focused them on providing data services to personal computers. The market for servers is certainly far larger than the mini-computer market was in 1981 when IBM introduced the PC (or in 1977 when Apple introduced the Apple II).

What happens when a new product category is created is that it becomes an area of fast growth, which sucks *attention*, but not necessarily profit from the old ones. It may in some cases spur growth, as desktops spurred the growth of the server business. The days of almost guaranteed exponential growth are long gone in the PC business, but it is possible that tablets rather than cannibalizing the PC business, will re-focus it.

At least probably. Predicting the future is hard, especially since we're dealing with *two* emergent techologies: really capable mobile devices and cloud services over ubiquitous networks. But *historically* when a class of smaller, cheaper, more convenient computing devices is created, what *had* been the low end segment doesn't really suffer. On the other hand individual firms (like DEC or Wang) *do* suffer when they fail to adapt to changes in the markets they were successful in.

Re:He's probably right. (4, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645938)

Trying to do much REAL WORK(tm) on a tablet is an exercise in frustration.

Do you mean like a doctor at a hospital looking at CTC scan or chart? Do you mean like a plant of warehouse working checking inventory? A meeting attendee reviewing meetings notes/annotating those notes? Is it not real work for someone to show their client a prospectus on a tablet and being able to make quick alterations on the device while meeting with them? What do you define as "real work"?

I would think that it would be equally frustrating to work with a laptop without a wireless connection. Many tablets like the iPad 2 come in 3G cellular data models so that takes care of the lack of "wireless".

He's wrong, and here's why: (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645956)

He's wrong, and here's why:

"Inkling has several universities working with its iPad textbooks, including Brown's Alpert Medical School, University of California-Irvine, University of Central Florida and Hult International Business School."

So if you go to one of those schools, and "could only have one device", if you want your textbook, that device will be an iPad.

-- Terry

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646016)

"The tablet's niche is on the couch or the train or the bus."

I think your sentence ended too soon. It should have read...

"The tablet's niche is on the couch or the train or the bus, where people can see you with it."

Re:He's probably right. (1)

Naso540 (2304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646046)

I agree with your POV 100% but for Dell to say the PC is not likely to be challenged is poor framing on the impact the tables are having on light weight laptops.

Mr Dell's reality distortion field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645156)

Reality disagrees with Mr Dell. PC sales are falling, smartphone and tablet sales are rising.


The PC IS dying. Gamers moved to consoles, for other reasons ppl move to tablets and smartphones. The PCs niche is getting squeezed. Sure, a few people need one to run CAD software or something, but that's not enough to sustain the market, so PCs will move back to how workstations used to be in the 80s: very expensive high end boxes. Normal everyday ppl will use mobile devices with bluetooth keyboards for when they need to type a lot, which is rare enough for most ppl.

Dell is nuts. The market disagrees. He just runs a PC company and he's scared shitless, so he's doing everything he can to put up a reality distortion field.

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645300)

It's insane to say that the PC is dying because people aren't buying new ones. Maybe (just maybe) people are happy with, and are using, the PCs they already have. That's not "dying", that's simply market saturation.

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645560)

Exactly. As somebody above said, any PC made in 2006 is more than powerful enough to do almost anything other than play the latest bleeding-edge games. Aside from gaming and other extreme-performance, there is no longer a credible excuse to keep shoving the latest specs up the average consumer's ass.

Incidentally, I have 2 Dell computers I bought refurbished originally manufactured in 2004(laptop) and 2005(desktop) that I bought for a couple hundred dollars each, and both with linux installed perform superior to more recent Windows systems with security suites. I love showing off the fancy Compiz effects to Mac users while telling them that my whole desktop setup cost only 400$ including a new name-brand 23" flatscreen.

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645724)

He's probably an American. They seem to think that if a market or company isn't growing continuously and exponentially, far greater than the rate of inflation or population growth, then it's "dying".

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645494)

Reality disagrees with Mr Dell.

Nope, it disagrees with you.

Gamers moved to consoles

I can refute that claim with a single word: "Steam."

for other reasons ppl move to tablets and smartphones.

People haven't "moved" to smartphones, they're just upgrading their old ones. And tablets? Those things very rarely replace a PC, they COMPLEMENT them; trying to type anything longer than a Facebook status message on a tablet is an excercise in patience, whereas simply consuming stuff, like e.g. watching YouTube videos, is significantly more comfortable on one. And that's the point: tablets are getting attention because they're good at consuming and they're only replacing PCs on such tasks. It does not mean that either one is dying.

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645576)

I need to run a lot more than CAD software. Office software (editing excel stuff on the *pad is fun, as is editing large presentations or business proposals, or use cases for that matter), business software, the occasional image editor session, my digital photo browser and manager, the two or three virtual machines that I have for old time stuff that I need, which will only run in the Japanese or Chinese version of Win95, just to name a few.

Also, I have a large option of hardware for the PC that will never-ever work well on a tablet. To name a few, six-core power CPU and the fast RAM, the good keyboard and the high precision mouse, my expensive printer with a lot of tweaks in the driver, my pen tablet, which beats the capacitive touch on anything tablet-like I've seen, the serial and parallel port I need for the occasional firmware update of my arduino projects, etc. etc.

Tablets will not replace these in any reasonable way anytime soon, if ever, and not because it is not possible, but because it is not necessary.

Re:Mr Dell's reality distortion field (2)

Yunzil (181064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646032)

The PC IS dying. Gamers moved to consoles,

Steam has grown 100% a year for seven years running.

By the same token (5, Interesting)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645158)

If you were going off to college and could only have one device,

Let's turn that around:
If you were home, which device would be the first to pick?
If you were at the beach, which device would you pick?
If you were on a train which device would you pick?

It is kind of obvious that PC is for work and tablet is for fun. No clear winner here.

Re:By the same token (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645242)

You should tell the couple thousand nurses that work for us that their iPads are only for fun

Re:By the same token (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645350)

Hmmm posting AC... because you can't quite be sure they are HIPPA compliant, eh?

Re:By the same token (1)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645320)

I dunno

Whenever I'm on a consulting gig and I do a lot of talking, note taking and need to juggle a couple of developers back at home base I find I can't live without my Xoom. My company laptop has sit firmly in its docking station for the last half year or so.
Yep, I now mostly use my tablet for mind maps but I wouldn't want to write a spec on it. But it is neat when on the road. 3G was totally worth it.

Had to buy a new computer, tho. Tried to only have the tablet at home for 3 months and it simply wasn't enough.

Re:By the same token (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645322)

If you were going off to college and could only have one device,

Let's turn that around:

If you were home, which device would be the first to pick?

If you were at the beach, which device would you pick?

If you were on a train which device would you pick?

It is kind of obvious that PC is for work and tablet is for fun. No clear winner here.

For home, it depends on what I'm doing. If I'm reading a book in bed, I'd pick the tablet (or more likely, the eInk book reader), if I'm browsing a few websites on the couch, I'd pick the tablet. If I'm writing an email to my mom, I'd pick the netbook.

if I'm on the beach, I wouldn't bring any electronic device at all. Maybe a book if I was going to spend the day on the sand, but if I'm at the beach I'm probably there for the water, not to read a book or send an email.

On the train, I always pick the netbook when I have a seat - much more convenient for sending an email, and the tablet is too big to use while I'm standing, I use my phone to read the online news if I don't have a seat.

Re:By the same token (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645656)

If I'm writing an email to my mom, I'd pick the netbook.

What? Your mom reads email? Does it mean you can email "pls send dinner down" when you hungry? Lucky basement dwelling bastard...

Re:By the same token (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645486)

If I were home, I would use the desktop computer I have at home. So I wouldn't take anything. If I were at the beach, I would use a pen and a pad of paper. If I were on a train, I would read a newspaper or write on a peice of paper. I don't need to buy several thousand dollars of electronics to meet these needs. I think the cell phone contract is the model every company would like to emuiate ultimately. I pay almost $1000 a year for a phone + network access. If only they could get something like that kind of revenue going for what most people now consider to be a "laptop" then it would be golden. Of course, the idea would be to sell everyone on both (or muiltiple) devices, so that instead of buying a laptop every couple of years for $700, they get us all on the treadmill of multiple devices and network access for everything we now use a computer for. This idea that I need to take something like a laptop or table to the beach is sort of weird, but all they need to do is convince 20 million people globally that is is a necessity and they are making a lot of money off it.

Re:By the same token (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645620)

Consider how much time you spend on the train, at the beach and at home playing with your phone/tablet/pc.
Unless you travel a lot, train time is very very little.
On the beach, well, for fuck's sakes why do you bother going if you're just going to waste your time playing with a gadget?
And at home, well, you can use any of those three.

Overall you don't get to spend too much on your gadget unless you're at home or at work, and when that happens it's just in snatches of a few minutes at a time, to check some news or read your messages, easier done on a phone than a tablet.

Tablets are not a threat for the PC, but they're not going away either, and the shares they're stealing ARE from the PC market.

Not Tablets (2)

mykro76 (1137341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645166)

Tablets are not the threat to PCs. TVs are. The stuff they're showing at CES this year is not far off being able to slot right where the family PC used to be.

If I could have only one Dell device... (0)

tooslickvan (1061814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645204)

If I could have only one Dell device, what would it be? None, I'd return it and give the money back to the shareholders.

Not so fast... (1)

The Joe Kewl (532609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645240)

If students could find a good tablet with some kind of wired / wireless (bluetooth?) keyboard AND some way to easily print things out for those archaic professors that still want physical papers turned in.. I bet ~9/10 students would choose a tablet of a desktop computer...

Then there are the IT minded students who would still have their laptops / desktop computers. Because, as any IT minded person knows, there are many (many) things you just can't do on a tablet (yet).

Time to reprint a Slashdot comment! (2, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645264)

From Computing Pioneers Share Their First Tech Memories [slashdot.org] :

CEO and founder of Dell

From the time I was seven years old, I was captivated by blandness. When asked what kind of ice cream I wanted, the answer was always "Vanilla, please."

My favourite toy was an old sock that belonged to my grandfather. It was the most dull, lifeless white sock you had ever seen. I called it "Blandy". When I turned 13 my parents let me paint my room any colour I wanted. I picked a decidedly neutral beige paint. I didn't want any excitement in my room, just a calming dullness. My whole room was like that: beige walls, beige lampshades, beige bedding. The only contrast was when I would place Blandy on my pillow. My room was the ultimate in dull. Sitting in it was almost like floating in a sensory deprivation tank. Except you could see that glorious beige everywhere.

What are your memories of your first computer?
I bought my first computer when I was fifteen. It was a Radio Shack TRS-80. The silver-grey painted chassis caused too much excitement in my otherwise dull bedroom so I spray painted it beige. The cassette tape's door was a shiny bit of transparent plastic, far too eye catching. I used some 120 grit sandpaper to take off the glossiness. You couldn't read the tape labels through it after that, but I didn't care. It was a small price to pay in my quest for supreme dullness.

What modern technology do you wish you had growing up and why?
I've learned that technology on its own isn't what really matters. What's important is how dull it is. How you can get someone to spend their hard earned money on something then look at it and wonder "Why did I buy that?" To me, making items that has people doing just that, even before they receive their order confirmation, is the greatest thing ever.

Companies that go for excitement and innovation are certain to die. They have no future. Why, if it were up to me, I'd sell whatever company it was and give the money back to the shareholders. Printed on dull, beige cheques.

Missing the point (2)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645356)

I think this guy is missing the point. The web is changing to make the experience on tablets and smartphones better. He seems to think that the internet is not going to change to adapt better to what people actually want to use, and it seems pretty clear that there are a fair number of people who would prefer to be using their phones or tablets than lugging around a laptop or taking up valuable home real estate with a desktop. If I can go to the library or a coffee shop or any other place with wireless and use the same interface, apps and files that I can use anywhere else, why would I want to use a PC? It seems like most web devs are working hard to make their sites more compelling on non-PC devices, so to assume that PCs have, and will have, a "better experience" is really rather shortsighted, imho.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645996)

And the corollary of that is that such sites often look poor on a desktop. When you add the fact that many desktop-optimised sites are actually flash-plagued nightmares the tablet/smartphone experience starts to look better; the smaller screens often seem to impose a worthwhile discipline on the designers. The information you need to find is better presented and does not require as much user input, paticularly keyboard use.

Kodak thought so too... (5, Interesting)

Tangential (266113) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645362)

From Kodak's 2002 Annual Report [kodak.com]:

Our traditional film business is sound as digital imaging continues to evolve.

That was 10 years ago. The typical end-user desktop/notebook world probably has a similar life left. Just as a few specialty photographers still need film, there will always be niche professionals that need high-end desktop or notebooks, but most end users won't.

Re:Kodak thought so too... (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645432)

I was just starting a post saying that Michael Dell should go and work for Kodak, but I see you mostly beat me to it.

Re:Kodak thought so too... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645984)

Considering how unstable the industry is, I wouldn't try predicting anything personally. We could very well end up with desktops and laptops extremely rare, but so could we have desktops shift to the home cinema as HTPCs/consoles (with advances in voice commands like Kinect, which I've been very impressed by thus far, it's not as awkward as it might first seem) while laptops and tablets merge as one (think Transformer with more power and better integration, at that point what's the line between "laptop" and "tablet"?), and then have desktops and laptops truly "disappeared"?

Whatever happens, I have doubts the desktop market would shrink to the extent of the film market. Why? Because digital imaging is pretty much superior in every way. Some people will say chemical grain beats any digital noise, and they may be right in some cases (though this reminds me of CD vs vinyl), but for the most part digital is faster, more precise, cheaper, more convenient, pollutes less... It's an upgrade. In contrast, a tablet cannot replace a desktop, at least not in their current form. You cannot do any sort of serious work on them, and even if most people don't do work at home on their PCs, that still leaves millions of computers used strictly for business. I don't see myself doing spreadsheet work on my phone (or programming, or video editing, or graphics work...), as much as I like it, and neither would I on a tablet.

Again, though, I'm fairly sure the future is neither tablet nor desktop/laptop. There's a false dichotomy because currently you have companies either invested in one side or in the other (but rarely in both), but I wouldn't be surprised to see a hybrid or something entirely new take over. Just look at netbooks.

It's all about the applications (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645450)

As soon as the apps I need are available and can be reasonably manipulated on a tablet, the laptop will be dead to me. Moreover, a tablet with sufficient resources could easily take the place of my PC, with *at most* a docking station.

Michael will continue to be right for awhile, but inevitably at some point he will be wrong. Hopefully (in my opinion) soon.

Re:It's all about the applications (5, Interesting)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645952)

A friend of mine in college made a very good point.

She was watching the tablet owners walk into class.... Set up their tables in their docing stations and folding holders, lay out their bluetooth keyboards, plop down their mice, and prepare to work. Comparably, the laptop owners could set their device down, open it up, and begin talking notes.

The advantage of a tablet is lost when you have to carry around all the acessories you'd expect to see on a full size computer. The laptop will continue to improve. There's a nich for a tablet - some things it's more convenient for than a full size laptop... But also some real disadvantages. i don't see the laptop going away anytime soon.

not the full quote (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645476)

he also continued, "And if you could have three devices, well, let's just say that none of them will be a Dell."

He's probably right on the desktop (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645518)

But I'm certain that for many people, a tablet is going to replace a laptop. A tablet is just that much more portable.

Other threats that Michael Dell would dismiss (1)

CapitalOrange (1552105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645520)

The barbarians will never be able to destroy our empire (Rome 400 AD) The silly colonies will never be able to overthrow the British Empire (Britain, 1774) Digital Cameras, who needs them - As CEO of Kodak (Last week).

Good bye Dell (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645556)

Sounds like he's got the same problem most other giants have had at some point, just before they start gong down hill. They refuse to acknowledge the changing tide around them, and are unable ( unwilling ) to adapt.

The first step is denial.

need a keyboard (1)

jds91md (2439128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645566)

Until speech recognition software is PERFECT, then we're all gonna need a keyboard to do much more than consume media on a computing device. So for the time being Dell is right. I'd vastly rather have my laptop because I can do sooooooo much with it. My iPad is limited by lack of keyboard to compose real text, and my iPhone is limited by small screen and lack of keyboard. It is true that most who previously used PC's to consume media did so because there weren't alternatives. Now that there are alternatives, the tablets have a niche. But the usefulness of the PC, particularly the laptop, isn't going away for a long time, I think. -- Josh

Kodak Dismisses Digital Camera Threat (1)

edibobb (113989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645600)

...and Kodak dismisses digital cameras as a threat to the photo film industry.

Kodak (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645610)

Didn't Kodak basically say the same thing about the digital camera? How'd that go? My dad worked for Polaroid for most of his life, I know how their "let's make a prediction and go with it" method went. Maybe he is right, until a tablet comes out that makes the PC worthless. If Dell were smart, they should be working on the be-all-end-all tablet, or else they are the next Kodak: too embarrassed to show up to the party.

Why not 1 device that does it all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645696)

Tablets and smartphones will eventually get to the performance point of today's workstation. At some point there will be so much computing power in your phone that you will have no need for any other device. Your phone will have a number of accessories and/or docking stations through which you will be able to interact with it as a desktop, laptop, or tablet. The docking station might contain some additional compute power (modular cpu and gpu cores, additional battery capacity, and everything in between). If you really need more power you can access the cloud or a server machine at work / home through your mobile device or its docking station.

I think it's pretty naive to think that PC's in the traditional sense will not be threatened by mobile devices.

Dude, I'm not getting a Dell ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645758)

Dell said : 'If you could have two devices, then you would probably choose the phone before the tablet,'

One thing is certain, no matter how many devices I have, NONE of them will
be a Dell. I don't spend my money on crap.

The PC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645766)

Look : http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_vs_desktop-US-monthly-201012-201201

Missing some factors (1)

az1324 (458137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645790)

People who may be in the market for an upgrade to their PC may choose to spend that money on a tablet instead and keep their current PC. People who want a tablet and a PC may choose to buy a cheaper used PC so they can afford both. These seem like they should be important considerations for a PC manufacturer.

We all have computers already. (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645844)

Yes, 100% of people need a computer these days. The more important fact is that 99% of them already have one. The only people who need new computers are gamers, and most of us probably follow the upgrade path for years at a time anyway. The ten percent of people who think they might enjoy having an iPad around dwarfs the number of people who need to order an actual new computer from someone like Dell. I have two iPads, but I have literally never purchased a new computer. I've received hand-me-downs, I've gutted old cases and filled them with whichever piece I most desperately needed to upgrade to get a game running well, I've found deals at the nearby used-computer shop... My mom has had the same laptop I told her to buy for over five years, and I recently replaced a used computer media-center at her place with a better used computer. My sister has had the same desktop for even longer. She doesn't need more. But they both -want- a tablet (although not enough to buy one, yet), and I'll probably buy an iPad 3 when it rolls around. Maybe I'll hand the iPad 1 down to my mom when the 3 comes out, and then Apple and Dell can be in the same boat. For everyone above... Try putting the keyboard -behind- the tablet.

He's both right and wrong... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645870)

He's right that tablets don't threaten the PC market. I'm sure they'll steal a small part of the market, but the market as a whole is safe. Where he's wrong is in that he thinks they'll have no affect. I suspect that very soon we'll start seeing low powered PCs that are basically just a monitor with a keyboard and mouse. The monitor will have a built in processor and be able to stream video. It'll replace your PC, and TV although not be able to play games and sell for under $200... maybe even under $100. Systems like that will murder Dell in its sleep. They'll just wake up one day and have no customers left. It's the sort of thing that should and could be done right now, but just hasn't. All that needs to happen is a big player like Wall-mart steps in, sets it up, gets a deal with something like google TV and you've got $200 PC/steaming TV's everywhere over night with free video content.

Tablets aren't going anywhere until the battery problems are solved. Either they need a LOT better batteries, or their screens need to be totally redesigned to not suck so much power. When a tablet has the same battery life as a kindle, then they'll be a contender. Until then, they're nothing more than a PC with fingerprints all over the screen that you can unplug for short periods of time during the day.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38645872)

As long as I can connect a mouse and a keyboard to it (and have ssh) I don't give a fuck what it is.

I have a tablet PC... and without bluetooth mouse and keyboard it is nothing more than a picture frame, for me.

Can't comment on smart phones.. I am still happy with the 7 days stand-by of my very old Nokia..

You might also want to know that "I have no TV".. People are fascinated.. ;)

Probably a grain of truth (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38645932)

IMHO tablets and "traditional" computers are, and will remain for the foreseeable future, complementary. Tablets provide a convenient means to check email, read the web, watch video, update your Facebook page, and play some quick games. But I'm not sure they're capable of replacing traditional computers for things like spreadsheets and proper document authoring. I recognize that spreadsheets and document authoring probably only make up 5% (or heck, maybe 2% if I'm pulling numbers out of my ass) of the total computing needs of Joe Smith American, but it's a 5% people aren't going to be willing to give up. It's the same reason our homes have three extra bedrooms and people complain about the range on electric cars; a small house and an electric car would meet people's needs for 364 days of the year, "But what about the inconvenience when Grandma comes to visit at Christmas or when we want to go on our annual road trip to Sea World!?!" Computers are no longer seen as luxury items, and my guess is that people will buy a computer AND a tablet (whether that's wise or not) rather than just ditch the computer for a tablet.
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