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Dell, HP badmouth Apple's iPad

'Just absurd' (much like Dell's math)

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A top Dell marketeer says that Apple's "magical and revolutionary" fondleslab is doomed to enterprise irrelevancy, and an HP senior vice president blasted Apple's partner policies as being "just absurd."

My, how novel: competitors bashing a front-runner. In other news, Pope Benedict XVI has been revealed to be a Roman Catholic, and a common ursus americanus was discovered relieving himself in a shady copse.

"Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island," Dell global enterprise marketing honcho Andy Lark told CIO Australia. "It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex."

Explaining Dell's OS strategy, Lark added. "We will do Windows 7 coupled with Android Honeycomb, and we're really excited. We think that giving people that choice is very important."

Reasonable arguments with which some might agree and some might disagee – but Lark soon drove his précis off a precipice. "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you'll be at $1,500 or $1,600; that's double of what you're paying," he said.

Even if he was talking Oz dollars – $1,500 in US greenbacks buys about 1,450 copper disks emblazoned with QE II and her five kangaroos – Lark is a wee bit off the mark with his calculations. Considering that iPads run from between $579 to $949 in down-under dollars, perhaps he was thinking of protecting his M&R tablet with CrystalRoc's Swarovski crystal–encrusted iPad 2 case, which would set him back $700. American.

And a mouse? Although it is possible to hook up a Bluetooth mouse to a jailbroken iPad using BTstack, that doesn't really seem to be an enterprise-y thing to do, now, does it?

The channel arguments put forth by Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president of HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization, at his company's Americas Partner Conference (APC) in Las Vegas were more persuasive, dealing as they did with the difficulty of working with the elusive Apple Channel Programs.

"Apple's relationship with partners is transactional, completely. Apple doesn’t have an inclusive philosophy of partner capabilities, and that's just absurd," CRN quotes DeWitt as saying in an interview during the gathering.

DeWitt, of course, has a self-serving reason to call attention to Cupertino's less-than-supportive attitude to its partners: HP needs partners and developers to rally 'round its webOS, despite the strong head start enjoyed by Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

To juice the process, DeWitt said that HP will soon roll webOS and mobility developer services into its PartnerONE support and incentives program.

"This will bring new partners to us because we are getting into the application space, which involves muscles that we haven't exercised in some time," he said, admitting that attracting a horde of webOS developers won't happen overnight. "This is new business for our partners, and its new business for HP, and we're going to learn where we need to invest."

Prying loose developers from Apple's grasp won't be a walk in the park. The success of iOS and the lure of iOS-fueled profits were powerful enough to sell all 5,000 tickets – at a cool $1,599 a pop – for Jobs & Co's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in just 10 hours.

Despite the iOS money spigot and the cool warm-up jackets Apple handed out at last year's WWDC, not all devs are enamored with the treatment they receive from their Cupertinian overloads – at least in comparison with how they're treated by other company's developer support systems. "Unlike Apple, HP is very channel friendly," one unnamed source told CRN. "And if you have an issue with HP you can pick up the phone and talk to someone. That's something that's impossible with Apple. As an Apple partner, I can say that it really feels like they're holding you hostage sometimes."

Comments like that are undoubtedly music to DeWitt's ears. Despite Apple's multimillion iOS-device head start, HP's deep enterprise experience gives it and its webOS platform – and its partners, developers, and VARs – an advantage that Cupertino lacks. ®

Bootnote

Exactly how unhelpful can Apple be to VARs? Two years ago, one CRN contributor recounted the sad saga of his personal experience with the Apple Channel Program, an experience that he said taught him the true meaning of that company's address: One Infinite Loop.

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