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What the Dell!

July 20, 2012

Yesterday I went to Dell’s Analyst meeting in San Francisco. They’ve seen the writing on the wall and are launching their own software business with none other than John Swainson at the helm. As John mentioned, he was at IBM in the early days with Steve Mills growing their software group there from insignificance into the prime mover of their company. After a stint at Computer Associated, rescuing them from themselves, he’s back at building a software group at a hardware company – this time it’s Dell.

And who could do it better? The four pillars of the Dell software group revolve around security, business intelligence, cloud, and other applications. They’ve made a lot of acquisitions lately including Quest software, which has a considerable community of “Toads” – (Google it) plus quite a few other products including Java development tools. Quest was too recent an acquisition to feature Quest execs at the meeting, but there were several others. Execs were there from recently acquired Kace and Sonic Wall and Boomi. All solid acquisitions that form the building blocks of a software company yet to come. In fact one surprise was that Dell is now making almost half of its income from software and services.

Another surprise was that in the middle of all this, they were talking quite freely about a new tablet they will introduce in November. It will run Windows 8 and feature a processor that’s “one of a family” optimized for Windows. Their current tablet, the Latitude, runs on the Intel Atom processor, and the suspicion is that Intel will be supplying the processor for the new tablet. Of course Atom is a single core processor so the hope is the new Dell tablet will feature a multi-core processor. Soon the industry will figure out that multi-core in the mobile client is the key to solving the BYOD problem – but more on that later.

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