PC market is still important to Dell, exec says

Dell has ventured into a number of areas outside the company’s traditional PC focus. The acquisition of cloud storage and networking company EMC is just one such endeavor that could make a person think that PCs are no longer the company’s core products. According to CRN, however, that’s simply not true.

Amid a treacherous PC market and on the eve of buying EMC, does Dell still care about the PC? In two words — and with a hint of a Texas twang — “Hell, yeah!”

Jeffrey Clarke, vice chairman, operations, and president of Dell’s client solutions, said the PC is central to the Round Rock, Texas-based company’s end-to-end enterprise strategy.

Certainly, Dell is making some excellent products lately. The XPS 13 is arguably the best traditional Windows 10 notebook, and the recently re-introduced Dell Venue 8 Pro looks like it could turn the 8″ Windows 10 tablet into a viable niche. No matter how you slice it, Dell’s products demonstrate more of a commitment to PCs, not less.

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Clarke answers a number of pointed questions in the interview, including discussions around the delicate issue of declining PC sales:

In a down PC market, how does Dell’s PC business survive or thrive?

Michael [Dell] (pictured) says in the next five to seven years, 80 percent of global PC sales will be driven by three PC makers. Dell will be one of them.

Right now, the top three PC makers make up about 54 percent of the market. Sony quit. Toshiba’s PC business is on the ropes. Acer is down 25 percent last quarter. Samsung is getting out of the PC market. Who is left? Dell sees a lot of margin up for grabs as other companies bow out.

Under these market conditions, it’s not unreasonable to see Dell double its market share.

That’s an aggressive answer, but it makes some sense. PCs might be down, but with Windows 10 gaining speed in the enterprise along with consumers and new form factors gaining prominence, there’s plenty of evidence that while PCs may never relive their heyday, they’re not going away any time soon.

Kudos to Dell for not only sticking things out, but making some great products as well. A viable Windows 10 OEM ecosystem is vital to the success of Microsoft’s productivity company strategy, and of maintaining the viability of Windows against the iOS and Android onslaught. We’ll be keeping an eye on this market, as always.

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