Dell bundling open source applications for SMBs

The company has already developed an open source software bundle for the retail industry

Dell is planning to offer small and medium businesses (SMBs) globally pre-configured bundles of hardware and open source software to run their businesses, according to an executive at the company.

There is a definite shift from proprietary to open source software among SMBs, particularly as companies in this sector look to cut costs, said Amit Midha, president of Dell's Asia Pacific and Japan region for the SMB business, on Tuesday.

"The more advanced the customers, the more likely they will adopt open source, because they are likely to ask why they should spend money on something they can get free," he added.

Dell is now focusing on offering pre-configured software and hardware bundles using open source software to help customers who are not advanced enough to deploy open source on their own, Midha said. Dell and partners will be offering services and training to these customers.

Some of the hardware and software bundles will also be offered around proprietary software, Midha said.

The company has already introduced in the U.S. market a pre-configured product around open source software, described as "SMB-in-a-box", for retail customers, that will also be rolled out in Asia later this year, Midha said.

Dell decided on open source software for its offering for retailers, because as they deploy technology across a large number of stores, retailers are looking to cut software costs, Midha said.

Besides retail businesses, Dell is also planning similar configurations for businesses in manufacturing, healthcare, advertising, and online gaming.

The online gaming industry in China is using open source software, which provides an opportunity for Dell to configure and package it for other companies in the same business, said Midha who is also the president of Dell's Greater China operations.

Dell is seeing a recovery for PC demand in the SMB market in general in a number of countries including the U.S., and China.

A lot of the times, the recovery shows up first in the SMB segment rather than in large corporate accounts, because while SMBs respond faster to economic changes, large companies have to first revise their budgets, Midha said.

"On a global basis, you get the sense that China is pulling the whole industry out of the recession" he added.

Consumer spending is still quite strong, and spending under stimulus plans by various local governments has helped boost demand for technology by SMBs, Midha said.

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