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Dell CEO didn't see tablets coming, expects Android to lead

updated 12:10 pm EDT, Mon April 25, 2011

Dell CEO admits not expecting tablet

Dell CEO and namesake Michael Dell in an interview Monday acknowledged that the iPad had caught him off guard. He was most surprised by the quick growth of the tablet and admitted he "didn't completely see that coming." Dell has been in the Windows Tablet PC market for years but had been immediately passed by Apple after the iPad outsold all Tablet PCs ever made in less than a year.

"Tablets aren't really new, in the sense that the tablet PC idea's been around for a while," he told the Wall Street Journal, later alluding to Apple and Samsung tablets. "Obviously, more recent products have been much more successful."

He didn't see Apple maintaining its lead in the tablet field. The iPhone was overtaken by an "even greater success" from Android. Google would repeat that success with tablets, he said, and Dell's Streak tablets would play a part.

"I think you'll see the same [overtaking of Apple] on tablets, with enormous numbers of Android tablets with Dell certainly playing a role in that as well," Dell said. "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."

The home side of Dell's business was a small part of its business and would still generate just a "modest profit" in 2011, but Dell wasn't due to back out. It wanted to participate in a number of markets where the home played a part.

Android's success outside of phones so far isn't guaranteed. iOS so far is maintaining a 59 percent lead when the iPad and iPod are included. The market for tablets is known to be very different than for phones with many buying their devices outside of carrier stores, without contracts. Apple has traditionally had a much wider retail distribution network and, unlike in smartphones, has often been more price competitive.

Dell has so far had relatively limited distribution of the Streak line and has never said how many it has shipped.

by MacNN Staff



  1. philomath777

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Advice from Michael Dell?

    The same guy who said to shut down Apple.


  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it NEVER gets old

    Michael, shut it down, liquidate, distribute the proceeds to shareholders. It's the only fair thing to do.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Once again

    We see the difference between leading and following.

  1. c. haynes

    Joined: Dec 1969



    May be closed but Apple products set a standard. Android is a half-vast idea. Unless some of these "big names" like Dell can set it right, android will be the sloppy solution it has been so far, trading on the volumes of those who can't see the differences.

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yet again

    People are touting Android over iOS - and yet iOS is almost three times larger in reality. Companies like Dell, Acer, Asus, Samsung MUST STOP touting how Android will beat the iDevices of choice and start focusing on how THEIR COMPANIES will start trumping Apple. Who cares if there are 50 million Android Tablets out there when that is split among 100 different companies? Apple will have sold 50 million iPads (and let's all not forget the iPhones and iPod Touch models) and they are ONE COMPANY... profits, people... PROFITS!! One company selling over 160 Million devices is not equal to 100 companies selling the same amount.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The future...

    Mike's crystal ball is cracked, clouded and non-functional. Steve's is nice and shiny and works great. Tsk, tsk.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Care is the difference

    The difference between Apple and all these other companies that fail to produce winning products is the level of pride that Apple applies to their products.
    For years, prior to Apple's entry, other companies had been making smartphones, PDAs and tablets - but they were built with shoddy interfaces on platforms that screamed "we don't really care about this product".

    So it's no surprise to me these companies were blindsided by Apple's success. They had no comprehension of the concept of creating something with that quality (and still don't). I doubt they could build a successful device even if they could charge $10,000 for it. They could build a pretty darn fancy device - but not a "successful" one.

  1. kdogg73

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Easiest CEO Job

    No innovation needed.

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011


    More android phones......

    In the garbage, in the RMA que, and still sitting on retail shelves with big red tags that say 2 for 1.

    There are some decent android devices....NONE of them will EVER come from Dell.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    From a man who didn't see Apple's iPad becoming

    a highly successful consumer device, now sees Android tablets taking the tablet lead. Good for him and his accurate foresight.

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