Dell draws derision for dissing iPad

Dell is drawing widespread ridicule in the tech press this morning after one of its marketing chiefs told CIO Australia that the would ultimately fail in the enterprise due to high costs and the rise of smartphones

Woe is the rival company that predicts failure for Apple and its products, particularly the iPad.

While Dell hasn't yet reached the notoriety of Microsoft's Steve Ballmer in the realm of failed prognostications, it is drawing widespread ridicule in the tech press this morning after one of its marketing chiefs told CIO Australia that the iPad would ultimately fail in the enterprise due to high costs and the rise of Android.

"[Apple has] done a really nice job, they've got a great product, but the challenge they've got is that already Android is outpacing them," said Andy Lark, Dell's global head of marketing for large enterprises and public organizations. "Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise."

ANALYSIS: 4 reasons why Apple and its iPad still rule the tablet market

Lark is catching particular flack for his claim that "an iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you'll be at $1,500 or $1,600... that's not feasible." As several tech journalists pointed out, however, a savvy consumer can purchase a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad for $500, an Apple wireless keyboard for $70, an iPad dock for $30 and a smart cover for $70. That's a grand total of $670 for an iPad, keyboard, dock and cover, which is a far cry from the $1,500 to $1,600 range claimed by Lark.

"Lark apparently needs to brush up on his 1st grade math," writes Brian Moore at the Examiner. "[I]f this is how Dell actually thinks, it shows you how big of a player they're actually going to be in the mobile market, just like they are now: nonexistent."

Macgasm's Joshua Schnell also mocked Lark's pricing claims, noting that the only way they would make sense would be if Apple charged iPad users $1,000 to purchase a mouse.

"Marketing executives talking at conferences are free to make stuff up at will and pretend that the numbers they're speaking are legitimate," he writes of Lark's claims. "People don't look into what they say anyway. Apple's taken a lot of heat over their reality distortion field, but it's pretty obvious that Dell's is malfunctioning."

Steven Sande of the Unofficial Apple Weblog is similarly dismissive and says that Lark's comments will rank high in the history of Dell gaffes.

"In the annals of Dell executive history, this has to go down as a pretty impressive foot-in-mouth comment," he writes. "Looks like it's time for Andy to go back to school and learn a little bit about his competitors. It might also help to brush up on those math skills."

The iPad is far and away the leading tablet for both the consumer and enterprise markets, as IDC has projected that Apple will retain a share of 70% to 80% of the tablet market throughout 2011. Research released late last year from ChangeWave found that the iPad dominated corporate purchasing plans, as more than three-quarters of the businesses who planned on buying tablets reported plans to buy the iPad. Additionally, Forrester analyst Ted Schadler has projected that the iPad will maintain its lead in the enterprise market for the foreseeable future since the company had a year's head start to foster application development and to further refine the iPad's operating system and functionality.

Apple officially unveiled its second-generation iPad, dubbed the iPad 2, earlier this month. Reports have already been flooding in that the new tablet has sold out in stores throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada. Analysts have projected that Apple sold around 500,000 iPad 2s over the first weekend of its release in the United States.

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Brad Reed

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