Tech giants seek new models

26 October 2012

NEW YORK: Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, the technology companies, are all seeking to enhance their business models, not least as a result of the impact Apple's products have exerted on the sector.

Microsoft is launching the Surface tablet, the first item of hardware it has made except the Xbox, alongside the Windows 8 operating system, powering its own devices and those of other manufacturers.

"We have committed ourselves on a path where we will do whatever's required from both the hardware and the software innovation perspective, and the cloud innovation perspective, in order to propel the kind of vision that we have," Steve Ballmer, its chief executive, told the BBC.

"The launch of Windows 8 and the Windows Phone is really an epic thing for Microsoft. It's right up there in the top two or three big moments, including Windows 95 and the launch of the IBM PC."

For its part, Hewlett-Packard is active in an increasingly wide range of areas, from servers, storage and networking equipment to providing enterprise services and cloud computing tools.

"We are reinventing the company and setting it up to win for the next 75 years," Meg Whitman, the firm's CEO, said. "I want to get HP ready for the next generation."

The firm decided to retain its core PC business. It also offers two hybrid tablets mixing laptop keyboards and a detachable screen, and is considering rolling out a smartphone in 2014.

"We've got to have the full range of devices," said Whitman, as reported by PC Magazine. "Innovation is everywhere at HP ... We need to package it out and market it in a more effective way, and we need to tell people about it."

Dell has faced similar challenges to Hewlett-Packard, and lagged behind Apple when it came to developing gadgets like tablets and smartphones, largely as it lacked the requisite software capabilities.

"We've had this long-standing, extremely successful Dell model, and that model has shifted," David Johnson, Dell's SVP, corporate strategy, told Fast Company.

"The reason why Apple has had so much success is because they've vertically integrated all of that into their environment ... If you step back and look, that's not been Dell's historical model. We leverage and integrate others' technologies."

Dell has recently unveiled two tablets, the XPS 10 and Latitude 10, both using Microsoft's Windows software, alongside the Inspiron 15z ultrabook and two business PCS.

It is also offering networking, security and data solutions that tap the convergence between the consumer and enterprise markets. "We're really focused primarily on that," Johnson said.

Data sourced from BBC; PC Magazine, Fast Company; additional content by Warc staff