Michael Dell didn’t see tablets coming; thinks Android tablets will beat Apple’s iPad

“Michael Dell doesn’t want to talk about personal computers anymore,” Ben Worthen reports for The Wall Street Journal.

MacDailyNews Take: Does that include not talking about what he’d do if he were running Apple?

Worthen reports, “The 46-year-old has been acquiring high-end technologies—such as storage and security systems—that Dell can sell to businesses to lessen its reliance on selling low-margin desktop and laptop computers. Dell bought services provider Perot Systems Corp. for $3.9 billion in 2009.”

“After some shaky years, the Round Rock, Texas, company’s results have improved recently. The company has stabilized its PC business,” Worthen reports. “That said, it has made little headway in smartphones or with its Streak line of tablet computers. Dell shares are off about 35% since Mr. Dell returned as CEO in 2007.”

Dell CEO Michael Dell
Dell CEO Michael Dell
WSJ: You’ve been back as CEO for four years now. What has surprised you the most about the evolution of the tech industry in that time?

Dell: I’d say [the] rapid rise of the tablet. I didn’t completely see that coming. Tablets aren’t really new, in the sense that the tablet PC idea’s been around for a while. Obviously, more recent products have been much more successful. What’s interesting [is that] business users are not going to give up smartphones. Won’t give up PCs. So now you have a PC, you have a smartphone and you have a tablet. Sounds pretty good. Industry growth. What’s also interesting is Apple’s great success with the iPhone. Android comes along, even greater success. I think you’ll see the same thing on tablets, with enormous numbers of Android tablets with Dell certainly playing a role in that as well.

WSJ: Do you think Android tablets will outpace iPads moving forward?

Dell: Not tomorrow. Not the next day. But again, if you look at 18 months ago, Android phones were like, ‘What is that?’ And now there are more Android phones than iPhones. I don’t see any reason why the same won’t occur with Android tablets.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Clueless as usual. Smartphones require carriers. With Apple stuck to AT&T as the sole U.S. carrier for so long, Android phones got a toehold among those unwilling to switch carriers. Some people obviously settled for pretend iPhones. That tide is reversing already now that Verizon has the iPhone. As contracts lapse, more and more U.S. smartphone users will go for Apple iPhones. (Android settlers aren’t the type of people to pay early termination fees, either, so Apple will have to wait for them.)

iPad, of course, does not suffer that artificial impediment to market share nor will Android tablets enjoy that artificial boost to market share. The iPad WiFi-only models are carrier-free and the 3G models are at both major U.S. carriers. That Mr. SIDAGTMBTTS doesn’t see that blatant fact is unsurprising. Somebody hold our Take up really close to the tip of his nose and maybe he’ll be able to see it then.

Related articles:
Report: Apple’s Verizon iPhone 4 powered iOS gains over Android in March 2011 – April 14, 2011
Apple now worth twelve times Dell’s market value – January 27, 2011
Apple now worth eleven times Dell’s market value – September 23, 2010
Apple now worth ten times Dell’s market value – September 09, 2010
Apple now worth nine times Dell’s market value – June 01, 2010
Apple now worth eight times Dell’s market value – May 21, 2010
Apple now worth seven times Dell’s market value – January 26, 2010
Apple now worth sextuple Dell’s market value – October 20, 2009
Apple now worth quintuple Dell’s market value – February 12, 2009
Apple could buy Dell outright; Mac-maker has more cash on hand than Dell is worth – October 21, 2008
Apple now worth quadruple Dell’s market value – May 01, 2008
Apple now worth triple Dell’s market value – December 06, 2007
Apple now worth double Dell’s market value – July 27, 2007
Beleaguered Dell: Shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders – March 02, 2007
Biting words on Apple come back to haunt Dell – February 10, 2007
Steve Jobs emails Apple team: Michael Dell not the best prognosticator, Apple worth more than Dell – January 16, 2006
Apple now worth more than Dell – January 13, 2006


  1. Never saw the iPad coming, but now that we have the thing in our hands, it should be fairly easy to duplicate in volume. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. But our engineers are breaking down the original iPad as we speak, and our iPad 2 is shipping in 1-2 weeks, so we should be able to outpace Apple in the coming years.

    Plus Mr. Dell misspoke. When he said, “I’d say [the] rapid rise of the tablet. I didn’t completely see that coming,” he meant to say, “I completely didn’t see that coming.”

    1. About this time last year, most of tech peoples yawn at iPad and said it is just a bigger iPod touch/iPhone. Who would wants that? I guess there are 4.6 millions people want it last quarter and much more in coming quarter.

  2. The other part that Mickey and other “pundits” miss is that there are so many companies going to make Android tablets that Android could take 70% market share and still put a lot of companies out of business. We likely will see that in smart phones within the next year or two as well.

    1. With the iPad growing the market it is going to be a very, very long time before the iPad starts to lose market share. For starters Android tablets are going to have to sell more devices than iPads per quarter and I just don’t see that happening.

  3. The entire Android platform suffers from fragmentation. It will get worse as time goes on, not better. Google already wants to be more closed like Apple with it’s Honeycomb version to minimize fragmentation.

    I’m happy that Android exists. Let all the cheapskates flock to it, lured by lower prices and more whiz-bang features. I don’t want them degrading the UI with cheap phones and locked down features. I’ve always known that if you want a superior user experience then you have to pay more for it. This little truism affects everything, including phones and computers.

  4. What a maroon. You didn’t see tablets coming in the first place, but now suddenly you’re enough of an expert to prognosticate on their future? Lol.

    He clearly remains clueless as he can’t spot the distinctions between the smartphone and tablet markets, some of which MDN pointed out in its take. Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, Mr. Dell, than to open it and remove all doubt.

  5. I have ipad and i am an Apple fan but I believe that the tablets with android are going to surpass ipad soon. the cheapest cost $500 and and android tablets are from $150. logically is not the same but people don’t know that.

    1. As soon as someone buys a $150 Android tablet, they find out right away they’ve been screwed. Most outlets will take the garbage back and let you buy something better.

    2. Good theory man and I can see your logic but I have to agree with the others, when you get that Android tablet its the crap user experience that lets you down. My wife has a sony xperia using android and I have an iphone, the difference is unmeasureable. Build quality then user experience. I suspect android tablets will feel the same

  6. Steve Jobs follows the Wayne Gretzky philosophy: Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.

    Michael Dell is sitting in the penalty box wondering what happened.

  7. The Dell Streak will have as its accompaniment the Dell Tunes store, the Dell App Store, the Dell brick & mortar store, the Dell Tunes Sync, the Dell Mobile Me app, the Dell iMac PC, all that to tie in to the Dell Streak so you have a unified infrastructure like Apple. That ought to take Michael Dell till 2100 to do.

    So yeah, Mickey’s right in a way – not tomorrow, not today, it’ll take Dell 89 more years to equal Apple’s ecosystem that exists today.

  8. If by his own admission he didn’t see the iPad coming, thought Apple was doomed several years ago, didn’t realize the Asians would undercut Dell’s business plan, thinks somehow (through his magic lens) that Android is having “greater success” than the iPhone, then why would anyone regard his opinion as anything but worthless?

  9. *sigh* I wish people would stop saying that “Android is more successful than iPhone”. That’s disingenuous at best, because they’re comparing a platform to a single device. Android is NOT more successful than iOS, and no single Android phone is more successful than the iPhone.

    Let’s take it further: the totality of Android-powered smartphones have greater combined MARKET SHARE than iOS-powered smart phones, ie, the iPhone, but to suggest that greater market share = greater success is ridiculous. Companies measure success by REVENUE AND PROFITS, and by that token, iPhone is eating everyone’s lunch. Consider: The iPhone had 16.2% of the global smart phone market share at the end of 2010, behind Android at 33%, and Nokia at 31%. The iPhone’s market share translated to only 4.2% of the entire global market for ALL mobile phones, smart or otherwise, yet this single device was vacuuming up 51% OF ALL PROFITS FOR THE ENTIRE MOBILE MARKET.

    You read that correctly. A single phone is taking more than half the profits of the entire market for all mobile phones. Android is in a race to the bottom, Apple is bathing in profits, and yet Android proponents and clueless journalists continue to beat the dead horse that the iPhone is somehow falling victim to Android.

    It gets worse for Android if you compare platform to platform. There is no Android equivalent of the iPod touch, and Android tablets are cannon fodder for the iPad juggernaut. Android is having their ass handed to them by iOS, no matter what anyone would like to believe. Couple this with the fact that iOS developers are far more likely to get paid than Android devs, and it’s a no brainer which platform is the more attractive one, for consumers and developers.

    1. “… this single device was vacuuming up 51% OF ALL PROFITS FOR THE ENTIRE MOBILE MARKET.

      You read that correctly. A single phone is taking more than half the profits of the entire market for all mobile phones.”

      *massive sigh*

      Please don’t take this personally as I’m sure you don’t mean that way, but I’ve heard this information expressed, ad nauseum, this way… usually by PC pundits or other expressing some negative Apple sentiments. I wish people would stop wording in this fashion, as it implies Apple is doing something (also usually expressed as unfair, immoral or illegal) at the expense of competitors.

      Apple isn’t “taking” profits. Apple is “making” profits.

      There’s a big difference.

      But, otherwise, I agree with you totally… you’re spot on.

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