March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Dell Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell said there’s growing demand for tablet computers that can run the next version of Windows, which may help his company siphon away corporate customers from the iPad.
Dell is developing a business-friendly tablet that works with Windows 8, and the company will start selling computers running the new Microsoft Corp. software “on the exact day” it becomes available, the CEO said yesterday on the “Bloomberg West” television show. Windows 8 is due later this year, though a release date hasn’t been set.
The goal is to entice business customers by running Microsoft’s Office applications -- something Apple Inc.’s tablet isn’t designed to do -- and letting the device connect securely to corporate networks. Dell is seeking an edge over the latest iPad, unveiled yesterday, which sports a faster processor, sharper screen and speedier wireless service.
“Having a secure Windows tablet that works with all the Windows applications -- we’re hearing a lot of demand for that and we think that will be quite attractive,” Dell said.
Still, the iPad is making its own inroads in the corporate world. Apple is on pace to sell $10 billion worth of iPads to businesses this year, according to Forrester Research Inc., succeeding in a market that has traditionally been Microsoft’s strength.
Tablet makers will sell a total of 103.5 million devices this year, with Apple accounting for two-thirds, Gartner Inc. predicts. The figure will rise to 326.3 million in 2015.
Shares of Round Rock, Texas-based Dell rose 1.1 percent to $17 at the close in New York yesterday. The shares have climbed 16 percent this year.
Dell aims to “lead the market” in Windows 8 tablets, Amit Midha, president of Dell’s Asia division, said at a briefing in Hong Kong today. The company will continue to offer tablets and smartphones based on Google Inc.’s Android technology, he said.
“Both the tablet and the smartphone form factors you’ll see us participating in, but the tablet side is a much higher priority for us,” Midha said. He declined to disclose details about products being planned by Dell.
Dell also will sell a range of personal computers running Windows 8 as soon as the software debuts.
“We’ll be there right on the very first day that Windows 8 is available,” Michael Dell said yesterday. During a conference call with analysts last month, he said there was “great excitement” in the corporate market over the new software.
Dell will continue to diversify beyond PCs by investing in acquisitions and research spending, he said on “Bloomberg West.”
“You’ll see us continue to be active,” the CEO said.