Dell, HP executives take shots at Apple, iPad; look foolish

Here’s a head scratcher: You’re an executive at a major electronics manufacturer. A company, Apple, has beaten you to market with its first tablet offering, the iPad, by nearly one year. In this single year, your competitor sold nearly 16 million tablets worldwide and managed to accumulate 75% of the tablet market share. What should you do? Make outlandish accusations and start calling that company names, of course. Executives from both Dell and HP have weighed in on what exactly is wrong with Apple’s iPad — aside from the fact that people are lining up to buy them the world over — and some of the quotes are quite humorous.

Dell’s head of global marketing, Andy Lark, had several interesting thoughts on Apple’s tablet device: “Apple is great if you’ve got a lot of money and live on an island,” he said. “It’s not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex.” Seems reasonable enough, the “open vs. closed” debate is one that will continue for millennia.

“An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you’ll be at $1,500 or $1,600; that’s double of what you’re paying,” Lark continues. “That’s not feasible.”

Okay, timeout. $1,600 for an iPad, case, keyboard, and mouse? Let’s do some quick math: 64GB 3G iPad 2 $829, ridiculously expensive leather Smart Cover $69, Apple Bluetooth Keyboard $69, Apple iPad Dock $69 (not mentioned, but why not), Apple Mighty Mouse (which won’t work with an iPad, but we’re going with it) $69. That’s a grand total of $1,105, just $400 to $500 off Lark’s estimates.

HP’s criticisms provide more irony and humor. Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president of the company’s Americas Solution Partners, said that Apple’s relationship with partners is merely “transactional” and that “unlike Apple, HP is very channel friendly.” This may be very true, but we imagine that it is hard to be “channel friendly” to tablet partners when you don’t even have a tablet in-market. While it is currently in vogue to take shots at the Cupertino-based iMaker, HP should also be concerned about a small company from Mountain View. HP’s TouchPad, webOS tablet will have to try and steal market share from Google and its armada of Android-based tablets — an operating system that has a loyal following and roots firmly planted in the global tablet space — as well.

These quotes are sometimes funny, often puzzling, and make for easy writing, but in all seriousness: we would really like executives to focus on their own products and push the tablet medium even further. Google and Apple aren’t staring in their rear-view mirrors, they are looking down the road.

UPDATE: HP’s Stephen DeWitt was referring to Apple as a whole when he called the company “transactional,” and was not specifically referencing its tablet business or the iPad.

[Via Apple Insider]

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