Dell not pushing enterprise Ultrabooks, channel partners say

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Windows 8 and the price tag makes them unfeasible

Vendors appear reticent to push Ultrabooks to business customers in the UK.

ChannelBiz UK revealed yesterday that HP, the world’s largest PC maker, was not intending to throw its weight behind pushing Intel’s Ultrabook to enterprise users, and it seems that rival Dell has not been making serious inroads into the market either.

With prices still high for many of the ultrathin laptops it seems that it is only the top brass at companies which are snapping up the devices, and Dell channel players feel that there has not been a serious drive to target wider business use.

Furthermore, the upcoming Windows 8 release had not helped spark enthusiasm among enterprise customers, and business users in general are not thought to be overly excited about the prospect of the Metro interface, touchscreen or not.

One Dell reseller said, speaking with ChannelBiz UK, that they are seeing little if any interest from business user for their Ultrabooks.

Responding to the question “have you been getting much interest from businesses in Ultrabooks”, the reseller said: “No, not particularly,” adding that it would often direct business away from sales of the vendor’s products due to poor channel management.

The reseller, which also sells HP hardware, added: “I would say neither one has contacted us about Ultrabooks; neither manufacturer has asked us to push it”.

We were told that there was some uptake for Dell’s Ultrabooks in the business space, but only on a small scale. “Some, not massive, it is usually for a specific individual within a business, often a prestige one, someone very high up the management chain,” the reseller said. “I think if they brought the price down then they would find a wider market, but part of the cache of the product at the moment is based on it being quite exclusive, so it is a trade off for them.”

Another Dell reseller said that business uptake had been muted so far, and while they could imagine Dell pushing for more sales in the future, the vendor had made little movement on the matter as the devices are still very much seen as consumer products.

“I wouldn’t say there has been a hell of a lot of interest with it being new, but there is a constant flow,”  ChannelBiz UK heard.

“They still advertise it as a consumer product,” the resseller said. “What you have to remember is that the difference between an Ultrabook and a business grade computer is the components that it is made of, the Ultrabooks aren’t deemed business grade because they don’t have the robustness.”

The reseller said that they could envisage Dell targeting the business space more in the future, if there is more interest from customers: “It depends, if they see that it has got a good take up then they probably would do.”

It is not thought that Windows 8 will create much enthusiasm for uptake among enterprise customers, many of which still run Windows XP.

“The likes of the NHS or Care UK where they have several thousand users for them to change an operating system costs them millions of pounds, for them to change every time a new operating system comes out, they probably won’t,” ChannelBiz UK heard. “A lot of these companies even now are still running Windows XP, and they will probably upgrade to Windows 7 in the near future and then once again skip out a few new releases and then move up accordingly.”

Smaller businesses are more likely to upgrade to Windows 8 as products become available.  “If you have a client with ten users, they might have the need for a new laptop and that will have Windows 8 on, and then slowly over time they will end up having more Windows 8 machines than Windows 7,” the reseller said. ” Then they might say, let’s get rid of the old Windows 7 ones and just make everything Windows 8, which is not too much of a cost for a smaller business where they only have a small number of users”.


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