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Should Dell Acquire Palm?

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 6th 2007

I wrote two pieces recently discussing potential turnaround strategies for both Dell and Palm.


The world is moving to a place where the laptop needs to become much more than just a laptop. An integrated mobile device is in the cards, that is the combo PC-Phone-Music Box. May be, even Camera. Dell needs to figure out a way to latch onto this trend, and find a hit product. iPod saved Apple. What will save Dell?


With the iPhone announcement, we enter an era when all the other smartphone providers need to now sit up and define their own clear positioning and path forward. With Steve Jobs working his PR machine, and the media lapping up the show and tell, it is imperative that Palm, for instance, decides where it goes next.


Of course, for both Palm and Dell, the driving force is going to be the iPhone, and how it moves the market. Here’s Frank Levinson’s piece, iPhone and the Future.


What makes this device different?

3 things –

1. The use of OSX – this choice empowers the device to be able to run Safari, mail and widgets. It continues to unify the Apple product line, not fragment it.
2. The use of a new consumer user interface (UI) and the deletion of so many buttons and choices (this was what we did about 16 years ago with Windows and 23 years ago with the first Mac and now we are doing it again).
3. The realization that Moore’s law scaling of silicon is continuing and this makes the possibilities of integration infinite.


Dell, in its turnaround, will require an iPhone like covergence device to remain in the game. Palm, certainly, is one such device, RIM’s Blackberry is another. Both Palm and Rim will need very compelling strategies of their own to position vis a vis the iPhone.

The reason I like a Dell – Palm marriage is that Dell has a long history of selling into the enterprise. If you read my suggestions for Palm’s positioning in the turnaround strategy article, one path they could go down is making Palm the business users’ device, that really integrates with the enterprise applications. Such a strategy would be synergistic with Dell’s channel.

However, both Dell and Palm have significant reinventing to do, at this point!

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