A Dell Executive Inadvertently Explained To Us Why Apple Was Smart To Do A Deal With IBM Last Week

Windows 8.1 8-inch Acer tablet and Dell PCJulie Bort/Business InsiderWindows 8.1 8-inch Acer tablet and Dell PC

Last week, David Schmoock, Dell’s president of global sales and client solutions was in our office talking about the future of the PC and tablet industries.

Yesterday, Apple and IBM announced a new partnership that would bring Apple’s line of iPads and iPhones deeper into the enterprise space.

These two events are not unrelated.

When Schmoock was in our office we asked him about how Windows tablets were going to compete with the iPad. After all, Apple CEO Tim Cook says 98% of Fortune 500 companies have iPhones or iPads.

Schmoock says when it comes to mobile devices in the enterprise space, there’s one key reason Windows tablets may have seemed more appealing than the iPad for the workplace.

There’s a primary difference in the way businesses and consumers view tablets. Average consumers view tablets as an extension of their smartphone, which is why the iPad has resonated more strongly with consumers than Windows tablets.

Commercial users, however, view tablets as an extension of their PC. If employees are already using the Windows ecosystem at work, it’s much easier for the IT department to manage one operating system across all devices rather than multiple platforms, Schmoock said.

According to Schmoock, it’s not uncommon to see employees with both an iPhone and a Windows tablet rather than an iPad in corporate environments. It’s more important for a tablet to resemble the PC experience rather than the smartphone experience in those circumstances.

He also said that Apple has a closed platform that works for consumers, but doesn’t work for corporations. IT departments want more security and more manageability, which Apple doesn’t do.

By partnering with IBM, Apple gets a partner that fixes some of those problems. It’s unclear exactly what IBM’s business apps for iPhone and iPad apps will be like, but they will likely make iDevices easier to manage across a business users while also boosting security.

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