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110 Things Dell Must Do to Catch Up to HP

1. Keep It Simple Dell tries to do too much. The company has spent the last few years attempting to be the company that satisfies any potential buyer. That’s a mistake. HP has shown that simplicity will reign supreme in the computing market. That company has gone out of its way to provide customers with several options that will satisfy them in one way or another. Dell should follow suit. Its buying process is a mess that’s overrun with customization options. Even its product offerings are all over the place. Enough is enough. Keep it simple, Dell. That’s what customers want.

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2. Watch Apple Apple could be the most important company in the market right now. Although it doesn’t generate the kind of revenue that bigger firms like Microsoft and Google do, it’s the best company for Dell to watch and attempt to mimic. Apple understands innovation, can see where the market is heading, and puts its all in realizing that goal. Dell doesn’t. The company plays it safe with products that don’t push the envelope in any way. It’s a mistake. If Dell wants to be the top PC company in the world again, it should be more like Apple than Acer. It’s that simple.

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3. Stay True to the Enterprise The enterprise has always been a key component in any successful computing strategy. Microsoft is the success it is today because of its reliance on the enterprise. Even HP, which at one time made some mistakes in the corporate world, is now back on top because it delivered products that companies really wanted. Dell has lost its way in the corporate world. Although it’s still very present, it’s not providing the best service, and its market share figures are supporting that. Rather than waste time with its current strategies, Dell needs to do a better job attracting enterprise customers. It’s the only way to regain influence.

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4. Forget About Acer There’s little debating that Acer will eventually become the world’s largest PC manufacturer. The company’s operation is simply too big and its products are appealing to customers. But it’s not the main competitor that Dell should worry about. For the most part, Acer’s influence in the corporate world in the United States is non-existent. Plus, much of its growth is overseas where it does a fine job of catering to those customers. Dell should be worrying about HP. The last thing it should do is get bogged down with worry over Acer’s strategies. That company just isn’t as important as HP right now.

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5. Start Working On Design One of the main issues with Dell is its trouble creating nice designs for its computers. Whether Dell likes it or not, the market is changing. Apple’s outstanding designs have helped the company force the competition to try and keep up. After all, consumers want a device that will reflect well on them. They don’t want to look at that simple gray box when they know they can get a sleek alternative from Apple. HP has seen the writing on the wall and started improving its own designs. How long will it take for Dell to follow suit?

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6. Remember the Past Dell was once the top company in the PC market. But it lost its way. The company should take a step back and evaluate what changed. A key component in the success or failure of any company is its corporate culture. Right now, Dell is playing like the loser in the game, and its employees are starting to feel that. It needs to stop. Dell was once the world’s top PC manufacturer. It knows how to achieve success. It needs to start ramping up the rhetoric and get employees to sign on to its ideas. Dell’s past success can contribute heavily to its future.

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7. Prepare For the Future At the same time, Dell must prepare for the future. The market is changing at a rapid rate and so far, the PC company hasn’t adequately kept up. Already HP is talking about delivering tablets after acquiring WebOS. The rest of the competition is preparing for the possibility of a Web-based operating system that could drastically change the market. All the while, Dell is still trying to sell customers on laptops and desktops with a few half-hearted attempts to capitalize on other markets. Dell can only hope to capitalize on the future. That is where the bulk of its attention should be right now.

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8. Consider the Cloud The cloud is a key component in the future. Google is preparing netbook owners for Chrome OS. Companies all over the world are starting to streamline their operations for the Web. And all the while, Dell has done little to prepare for that move. The same can’t be said for HP. That company has been focusing on the cloud for years now. It’s far more likely to satisfy customers when they’re ready to go than Dell. Going forward, Dell must work harder to accept the cloud for what it is — the future — and get its operation ready for that. If it doesn’t, Dell won’t be around to see just how important it really is.

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9. Tablets Are the Future Tablets are the future. With the iPad now selling extremely well and several companies breaking into the mobile space, tablets are quickly supplanting netbooks as the go-to products for mobile consumers. Dell will be trying its luck in that space with its Streak, a 5-inch tablet aimed at those who want to be a bit more productive while on-the-go. It’s a fine first step, but it isn’t nearly enough to get Dell to the top of that space. And with a 5-inch display, most consumers will be wondering why it’s offering a hobbled alternative to the iPad. Tablets will be a major component in Dell’s future, but with its current slate of products, it’s already putting itself behind. It must do a better job appealing to consumer desire in the tablet space.

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10. Stay Out of Smartphones With so much trouble trying to get a desired tablet to the market, it’s any wonder why Dell would even consider trying its luck in the smartphone space. Try as it might, Dell will never be able to match Apple in the mobile market. Not only is Apple too entrenched in that space, it understands consumers (and probably even enterprise customers) far better than Dell does. And it’s about time that Dell accepts that. The smartphone market is a dangerous place for Dell to be. It won’t win, and it doesn’t have the product that people want. Stick with what you know, Dell. It’s your only shot.