Ron Garriques has spent 21 years in the tumultuous wireless industry, holding executive positions at AT&T (T), Lucent, and Motorola (MOT). Now he is heading up Dell's (DELL) consumer electronics division. During a week in which the industry was abuzz about consolidation, with talk of Motorola and Canada's Nortel (NT) combining their wireless network infrastructure businesses and a possible sale of Motorola's beleaguered handset division to yet another industry player, BusinessWeek.com's Jennifer L.Schenker questioned Garriques about Dell's wireless strategy.
What are Dell's mobile plans?
We won the prize for having the best mass-market, wirelessly connected computer at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. So you could say we have already gone mobile.
Is Dell interested in buying Motorola?
We don't comment on rumors. But I'll reiterate what Michael Dell has said in response to that question: We are a lot more focused on PCs then we are on the phone business. What I can tell you is that when it comes to Dell's consumer business, we will be a full-portfolio player. We are going to be in a full range of devices, from very small to very large, offering 2-inch, 4-inch, 8-inch, 16-inch, and 20-inch devices—and even bigger. An example of our expanding portfolio devices is the acquisition of Zing.
This acquisition already gives us a range of small-screen devices and related services.
Regardless of whether Dell ends up with Motorola, will you spearhead Dell's push into mobile handsets?
We need to be a leader in the consumer personal-computer space. This is our primary objective. There are sets of products, services, and solutions adjacent to our business that Dell could participate in that could help us reach our goals. We are planning those road maps.
What have you learned from your years in the wireless industry that might be applied to Dell?
Clearly there are many things to be learned by Dell from the industry.
Mistakes made in gaming, e-mail, messaging, platforms, and marketing are just some of them.
How might mobile handsets fit into Dell's offer?
The industry is consolidating and in order to be successful in consumer electronics you are going to have to offer a whole range of devices.
Clearly mobility is very important. Stay tuned as we roll out our overall consumer strategy.