While most PC makers are seeing a decline in sales year over year, Dell bucked the trend by showing 6.2 percent growth in PC shipments for the first quarter of the current fiscal 2017, shipping 9.6 million PCs, according to data from research firm IDC. The third largest PC maker in the world, after HP and Lenovo, now says that it plans to do a PC-as-a-Service offering before the year is out.
What Does “as-a-Service” Mean?
As used in the world of technology, “as-a-Service” means you don’t buy the product – hardware or software – outright. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to “rent” the service from the provider. In cloud computing, that could be storage, virtual machines, cloud software and so on. In hardware, it typically means you pay monthly instead of paying the entire amount upfront.
Essentially, that’s the same deal carriers around the world offer for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Dell’s PC-as-a-Service Program
Similarly, Dell intends to offer PC-as-a-Service to enterprise users, where they only pay a monthly rental. They can also buy tech support the same way. That way, they don’t incur a high upfront cost because it’s spread out over a period of time, based on the contract between the buyer and the vendor – in this case, Dell.
HP and Microsoft already offer such programs, and Dell wants to follow suit, offering a similar PC-as-a-Service program to enterprise customers worldwide.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the PC market is going to start booming again. The need for PCs is increasingly being relegated to the office environment, and the decline primarily comes from reduced PC demand from the individual consumer market.
With laptops, hybrid 2-in-1s, tablets and smartphones of today regularly trumping PCs on certain specs, there’s no longer a need for a PC at home. Of course, certain categories of users still prefer a PC for personal use, but the demand isn’t as strong as it was before the prolific growth of tablet and smartphone usage.
With this particular service, Dell could see some continued growth in the PC segment. Of note is the fact that Dell is one of the few hardware vendors that offer a full stack of hardware, from server and networking equipment to workstation desktops, laptops and peripherals.
The recent launch of innovative products like the 8k monitor and the Dell XPS 13 for 2017 are testaments to their commitment to the PC market, and we should be seeing even more new hardware later this year, like the Dell Canvas 27 touchscreen monitor specially designed for Windows 10 Creators Update.
Dell is also likely to reveal new hardware at the Computex trade show at the end of May.
On the enterprise front, Dell is pushing hard into the server, storage and networking equipment segments, and that’s primarily because of the rapid growth of cloud computing in its many forms. New technologies like artificial intelligence-based virtual assistants, autonomous vehicle technology (self-driving cars), cloud gaming and other real-time datacenter workloads are at the heart of this growth, as are offerings like Software-as-a-Service, Big Data and Analytics, public and hybrid cloud infrastructure and so on.
The PC-as-a-Service offering is merely another layer to Dell’s focus on the enterprise segment, complementing their vendor offerings to the world’s top cloud service providers.