When Giants Collide: How Dell, HP, IBM and Microsoft Will Influence Your Business

Dell, HP, IBM and Microsoft have not traditionally been direct competitors. However, I’m seeing a shift and this shift will affect your business. The shift is slow right now, but will gain traction.
Dell and HP – are clearly selling in the same competitive space for computers and printers. IBM and Microsoft are competing directly on software solutions to business. How are the four related?
Well Dell and HP are buying up more service companies and selling new, more service oriented offerings from these acquisitions. HP’s Logoworks division, their HPUpline offering and other solutions go beyond their core “PC” services and I expect this to grow into even more “beyond the PC” offerings.
Dell’s focus right now is on more traditional PC support solutions – such as managing computers. However, I can’t see why they would not be looking into buying and/or closely partnering with companies that can help them sell or cross market Dell’s traditional PC based technology offerings into new areas such as web development, marketing and beyond.
IBM and Microsoft are arch rivals as both sell software that businesses need for communication – email, online collaboration, ecommerce and so much more.

eChannel line writes However it appears that IBM’s new SMB initiative — codenamed the “Blue Business Platform” has a different focus, one that appears to target Microsoft’s client monopoly.
“It’s directly competitive with Microsoft,” said Sean Poulley, VP, online collaboration services, IBM software group. We will be competitively priced when we announce it, and it will be considerably easier to install and use, he said.

The reason these two sides (IBM/Microsoft and HP/Dell) could be brought closer to a collision course is due to services. Dell and HP, can’t live on PC sales alone. They (and HP already is) will need to sell more and more “beyond the PC” services. This is where the clash of the titans will be – and benefits to your business – will occur over the years.
One company to also keep your eye on is Intuit. It’s main and largest competitor is Microsoft – Microsoft Accounting vs Intuit’s QuickBooks. Intuit recently bought Homestead – which competes directly with Microsoft Office Live. Intuit also closely partners with Google – with search and AdWords integrated into QuickBooks – another direct competition to Microsoft. While I don’t see Intuit selling computers any time soon, there is PLENTY of room for it to sell more online/web based solutions to businesses.
How this will all shake out in the coming months I have no clue – but it is going to be quite interesting to see how these giants (and Intuit) offer new services to businesses through acquisition or otherwise.
Cicso, owns WebEX – another interesting foundation for more services to businesses.
Let’s not forget, however, all the smaller companies in the market and the many services can buy from them as well, which often add-value to the services we buy from larger companies.