Tech Data CEO: Tablets Now A Billion-Dollar Business


Tablets have become a $1 billion business for Tech Data, with no signs of slowing down, according to Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of the distributor. Dutkowsky spoke with CRN's Scott Campbell about tablets and a number of other subjects. The following are excerpts from the conversation:

You said on your first-quarter earnings call that tablets were a $1 billion business in the last fiscal year, up from $300 million the year before. Can provide more details on that and how much of that business went to consumers as opposed to commercial customers?

We don't break out to that granular a level, but suffice to say that the majority was not into the big box guys but into Apple certified resellers that are taking that into the commercial channel. Apple knows how to sell to Best Buy. They don't need distributors for that, though we do some business there. In Europe, we sell more into the retail side than in the Americas, where the primary target for us, for the iPad in particular, is Apple certified resellers.

The point with the numbers is to show the growth, when two years ago we didn't even sell the product. I'm sure there will come another product that today is not even a glimmer on our revenue stream. Another example of that was the advent of VMware. We weren't even selling it, and then we became the biggest distributor for VMware.

Apple aside, how is the business for other tablets?

The other tablet players are attempting to create traction, but I'm not sure if you add all the Android tablets together, that they could counter the Apple product. We don't break it out, but the majority of our [tablet] revenues are iPads. The other flavor, Android, is split among several vendors.

What kind of impact do you think Microsoft Windows 8 will have in the tablet form factor? Can that dent Apple?

We're all watching Windows 8. When that comes out, it could change things in the tablet space. I was just in Microsoft for a day and a half of meetings, and Microsoft gave us a Win 8 tablet to use. We have to give it back because it's a prototype, but we got to work with it for a day and a half. It's very, very slick. It works well. It's fast, intuitive, easy to navigate.

Next: Windows 8 On The Horizon