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It's a mobile world and Dell is ready to arm users with a slew of Windows 8 tablets, but it won't get back into the smartphone business, Dell President and Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice told CRN.
"We're completely out of that. Our view is that from a pure hardware standpoint, the profit pool is not really sufficient to have too many players in it," Felice said of the smartphone business at Dell World in Austin, Texas, Wednesday.
There will be three or four primary phone providers, and the bigger opportunity will be around managing those devices in a corporate environment because most commercial customers are not going to be able to control which smartphones come into the environment, Felice said.
"What's more important to [enterprises] is how to control the data that comes in, make it secure and have applications properly interact with smartphones. We've developed a strategy that is more software-based that we can represent to our commercial clients," Felice said.
Bob Venero, a solution provider attending the conference, said the decision to focus is a good one for Dell.
"It's a great strategy on their part. Why do they want to make another 'me too' product? It's a smart plan to focus on the enterprise and the data center," said Venero, president of solution provider Future Tech Enterprise, Holbrook, N.Y. "I give them kudos for knowing what to do and what not to do."
With the advent of BYOD, smartphone makers appear to be more focused on consumers, not on the commercial market, which has created the need for more management solutions around the phone, Felice said.
"BlackBerry was the most commercially focused, but they've had some missteps, and they seem to be going in the wrong direction," he said. "Apple doesn't spend a lot of time on how to develop a secure manageability environment for corporations. Samsung and Nokia are not spending time on that. That's what we primarily care about.
"We can create a platform utilizing Kace for device management, Quest [Software] for authentication, SonicWall for security, AppAssure for information backup. We have all these capabilities now to create an environment that keeps it secure and enables a business to separate business use from personal use. It also enables us to control access to information when necessary. When something gets stolen, can you shut off business data going to that device? We can create an ecosystem to plug your smartphone into."
As Dell looks to get into the mobile management game, establishing relationships with the smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung or Nokia is not necessary to offer a comprehensive solution, Felice said.
"We're always interested in relationships. That [lack of relationship] has been more the other side than us. But, it's not needed. There are enough industry-standard tools out there now. Our Kace product manages in Linux, Windows and Mac environments. It's not necessary to have these partnerships to enable this to work."