Dell exec predicts iPad's failure in the enterprise

In an interview with CIO magazine in Australia, the head of enterprise marketing for Dell says Apple's tablet is "closed," "expensive," and "complex" for business customers.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
3 min read

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff with an iPad 2, has a different opinion on the iPad's use in the enterprise than Dell exec Andy Lark.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff with an iPad 2, has a different opinion on the iPad's use in the enterprise than Dell exec Andy Lark. Apple/Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Dell really appreciates that Apple has successfully created a market for tablets, but is pretty sure Apple will ultimately fail when it comes to attracting enterprise customers.

That's what Dell's head of enterprise marketing Andy Lark said in an interview with CIO Australia magazine today. He had a couple choice quotes as he ripped Apple's iPad for, among other things, being "too expensive" and incompatible for business users.

"I couldn't be happier that Apple has created a market and built up enthusiasm, but longer term, open, capable and affordable will win, not closed, high price, and proprietary," Lark reportedly told the magazine. "[Apple has] done a really nice job, they've got a great product, but the challenge they've got is that already Android is outpacing them.

"Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex."

He also says the iPad is too expensive. His proof? "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. That's not feasible," Lark said, according to CIO.

While the debate between the probability of future success between "open" and "proprietary" systems is clearly ongoing, Lark's math is just wrong. An iPad runs for between $500 and $830. Wireless keyboards are $70, and the most expensive smart cover is $70, but starts at $40. That means you're spending anywhere from $600 total to $970 total. And if you did find you needed a mouse for a touchscreen device such as the iPad, that would tack on just another $70. Not anywhere near $1,500 or $1,600.

We don't know yet how many iPad 2 devices Apple has sold since they went on sale March 11, but Apple sold more than 14 million models of the original iPad, and reported it's being used or tested at 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies. But a third-party company offered corroborating evidence that the iPad's use in the enterprise is on the rise.

Good Technology, which makes enterprise software for mobile devices (Good For Enterprise), has over the last year been tracking which devices its clients put its software on. Using data gleaned from more than 2,000 clients, Good found in January that during the fourth quarter of 2010, more than 65 percent of all activationsusing its software were on iOS devices--which means iPhones and iPads. iPad activations grew from 14 percent of all new devices to 22 percent of all new devices during that same time period.

Apple also managed to get the CEO of Salesforce.com, which makes software for enterprise sales, to appear in a marketing video for the iPad 2. Marc Benioff slightly differed with Lark's point of view, when he said of Apple's tablet, "This device is how we're going to run the future of the enterprise."

Lark told CIO Dell would be pursuing a "multi-OS" strategy to attract enterprise customers. "We will do Windows 7 coupled with Android Honeycomb, and we're really excited. We think that giving people that choice is very important."

He didn't mention specific models of devices.