In what could be yet another example of a company that “doesn’t get it”, we get this gem from HP. In an interview with with Loop Insight, Richard Kerris basically says that the TouchPad is going after the enterprise, which he believes means it isn’t going after the iPad. Apparently HP isn’t paying attention: the iPad is currently the enterprise tablet of choice. That means, like it or not, the TouchPad is going to go head-to-head with the iPad and its now rather hefty 100,000+ apps. Yes, the iPad is a very popular consumer device, but the enterprise is apparently buying plenty as well. It’s easy to assume that the iPad is almost exclusively a consumer device. Their commercials and the selection of apps on the iTunes App Store definitely reinforces that idea. But one would think that a large company like HP would have the sense to do a thorough study of the market. Heck, you’d think at least someone on their marketing or strategy teams would use Google to see what’s going on.
Does this mean that the iPad will remain the absolute top dog in both retail and enterprise? Does this mean that devices like the TouchPad don’t stand a chance? Not hardly. As Kerris points out, it is still early. What we haven’t seen yet is the appearance of the budget-minded tablet buyers. Right now, most tablets are priced about the same, but you can expect cheaper ones to appear, and those could start to eat into the iPad’s share of the market, more-so than the current crop of tablets. Android really didn’t start to get traction until the cheaper models came out and the smartphone market expanded beyond customers interested more in the technology than concerned with price. The same can probably be expected in the tablet market.
However, I’ll add a caveat: that never happened in the MP3 player market. Apple absolutely dominated the space, both in hard-drive based units, flash-memory based units and overall. And they did it with machines that were, in some cases, substantially more expensive than the competition. This type of thing doesn’t happen often, but there is an outside chance the the iPad continues with its 85%+ market share until something comes along to supplant the tablet segment entirely.
I believe, though, that HP is being naive if they think they aren’t competing with the iPad. They are. Internally, people in HP may be aware of this, but publicly, they haven’t acknowledged it. Until they do, and until they can provide a meaningful reason why people should pick TouchPad over the iPad, expect the TouchPad to do about as well as the other tablets in the market have done to date: poorly.