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HP's confusion is Dell's gain, says Michael Dell

Hewlett-Packard has potentially handed competitor Dell a huge opportunity to get ahead in enterprise computing solutions and services.

Michael Dell speaks Tuesday morning at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Hewlett-Packard's uncertainty and confusion is unquestionably an advantage for Dell Computers, according to the company's founder and CEO Michael Dell.

"It's a great opportunity for us to describe to our customers and our potential customers our commitment to what we do, [and] investments that we're making within inside our business," said Dell while speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit on Tuesday morning. He added that Dell Computers has approximately 100,000 partners, and that pool is growing very quickly.

"You think about the enterprise customers. These are customers that think about what's going to happen in a year or two," Dell explained. "That sort of thing erode their confidence very quickly."

Touching back on some of the points he made during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 a few weeks ago, Dell stated that his company evolved from "a product company to a services and solutions company."

"If I look at our relationship with companies that make airlines, most of our business with them is not products anymore, but services," Dell said, adding that shift has taken approximately 15 years.

Taking health care as an another example, Dell said that a decade ago, salespeople likely would have gone into hospitals trying to sell "shiny new servers." But new servers are not what healthcare organizations are more concerned with, Dell posited, but rather what those servers are going to do for the business.

Dell boasted that Dell Computers is now the number one provider of healthcare IT services in the United States.

"There's an enormous opportunity to use all this data for better outcomes," Dell explained. "Having standards and having a common way to archive is actually a very simple thing."

Dell asserted that this strategy is working and his company has positive earnings, but he acknowledged that there's still a lot more work to do.

Another key to Dell's strategy -- which could be construed as how Dell is trying to one-up HP as well -- is to help customers manage end-to-end solutions for its end users. That becomes especially more important as employees bring client devices (i.e. tablets, mobile phones, laptops, etc.) to work.

However, building those consumer mobile devices is not something that Dell Computers will be focused on as dearly as other services.

"Right now it's an iPad market," Dell argued. "The Android stuff has not done fantastically well. I think I'm being fair."

The primary challengers are Android and Microsoft, and Dell thinks that Microsoft has a pretty good chance with Windows 8. But Dell acknowledged that Android is doing very well in handsets.

Nevertheless, don't plan on seeing Dell spin out its consumer sector, the smallest area in Dell Computers, much like HP might be this year.

"We're completely committed and we're not going to change our minds about that. I'm sure about that, by the way," Dell affirmed.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Michael Dell: HP's confusion presents opportunity for Dell."