Business
3:10 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Will the Tablet’s Rise Mean More or Fewer Layoffs at Dell?

The largest corporate employer in Central Texas, Dell, has sent out pink slips to an undisclosed number of workers. 

Despite acquisitions designed to broaden the company’s enterprise services, a slowing global economy, tough competitors, and a shift from desktop to mobile computing have hammered the Round Rock-based company’s sales, says industry analyst Shannon Cross.

“What hurt them most recently is just a dramatic slowdown in PC sales. Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace. China slowed dramatically for both HP and Dell in the most recent quarter. You’ve seen a lot of pricing pressure coming from some of the Asian competitors like Lenovo, Asus, and Acer.”

Cross points to the adoption of tablet computing – lead by Apple’s iPad – as “cannibalizing” traditional PC sales. That applies to both consumer computing and the corporate world, where BYOD – “bring your own device,” as she calls it –  means management is “bringing Apple tablets into the corporate networks and then the IT managers are having to learn to deal with it.”

Cross says she thinks that Dell’s fortunes will improve with the release of Windows 8 tablet computers in October. “If you get the Windows 8 tablets out there … actually it’s OK if you don’t sell a notebook – you sell a tablet.” Still, Cross notes Windows tablet sales represent “probably more of a 2013 opportunity for Dell."

But what about Dell employees looking for a new job? Some of them may find a lot of opportunities.

Matt Genovese runs Door 64, a computer industry networking group that claims 20,000 members.  He says that even outside of hot specialties in software development, like .NET design, java programming, user-interface design and the like – tech companies are hiring.

“There are many sales roles and project management roles available. So there is growth in the Austin area,” Genovese says. “And especially in certain types of technology jobs, the tech market still seems like it’s a viable place to do business and a viable place to find a job. … I think Austin is very well poised to be a place to find employment, especially on the technology side.”