Why Microsoft and Dell Should Team Up on Tablets
Dell is going private with the help of $2 billion from Microsoft. What does this mean for them, and the future of the PC industry?
Wed, February 06, 2013
PC World —
We've been hearing for years about the "post-PC" era. Bill Gates originally coined the term in 1999 in an op-ed for Newsweek. Since Gates first declared the beginning of the "post-PC" era, PC sales have tripled.
However, Gates had the right idea--he was just ahead of his time. Apple's launch of the iPad and the subsequent tablet revolution has brought the term "post-PC" back in vogue. Tablet sales are brisk, and PC sales are dwindling.
At face value, the "post-PC" trend doesn't bode well for either Dell or Microsoft. Despite CEO Michael Dell's claim that Dell is "not really a PC company", the fact remains that Dell and PCs are synonymous in the eyes of most businesses and consumers. Plus, the operating system predominantly associated with PCs is Microsoft Windows.
Does that mean that Dell and Microsoft are doomed to follow BlackBerry (formerly RIM) to rapidly eroding relevance? Not necessarily. Taking Dell private and teaming up with Microsoft gives both companies some creative options.
Dell and Microsoft can focus on core PC products in an effort to invigorate sales, or shift A their focus to cloud and mobile tools. They can also choose whether to target businesses, consumers, or both. Why not focus on tablets?
Slideshow: The Evolution of the Tablet PC
The tablet, after all, is not an indicator of a "post-PC" era because a tablet is not "post-PC". A tablet is simply an evolution of what we define as a personal computer. With Windows 8 tablets, whatever line may have existed between a PC and a tablet blurs right out of existence. A Windows 8 Pro tablet looks and acts like a desktop PC while docked at your desk, yet retains the versatility of a tablet when you choose to go mobile. The tablet is the PC.
With the launch of its Surface tablets, Microsoft ventured into new territory and stepped a little on the toes of its equipment-manufacturing partners. While the engineering and quality of Redmond's tablets has been almost universally praised, they are priced higher than expected, and sales so far appear to be disappointing.