Businesses are not about to ditch the PC as their primary client platform in favour of tablets or other consumer-friendly devices, according to Intel, which naturally sees its ultrabook platform as the way forward.
The leading chipmaker outlined its view of the future for the business client at a press briefing this week, saying that lukewarm sales of PCs over the last year or so can be partly attributed to enterprises waiting on the technology in the latest Intel ultrabook platform, which is now starting to filter through to market from vendors such as Dell and HP.
"If you're looking at large enterprise, a lot of those companies have been waiting around for some of these systems, not necessarily because they purchase from this vendor or that vendor, but for things like serviceability, manageability and security," said Rob Sheppard, business client marketing manager for Intel UK.
While conceding that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is having an impact on organisations, Intel said that this is happening with phones and tablets, not PCs.
"Also, the idea that businesses would give a stipend to users to go out and buy a PC of their own choosing, that's not happening. There are just too many complications around it, when you start to look at things like tax and the relative costs of volume purchasing versus individual purchases," Sheppard claimed.
Instead, Intel said it expects to see significant growth in corporate purchases of ultrabooks this year, as this style of laptop will expand to account for a greater share of the overall PC market.
Many ultrabook designs to date have been more focused on consumers than business buyers, but Sheppard said that systems with features more appropriate to corporate use are now starting to filter through to the market, such as Dell's Latitude E6430u, Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 Touch and HP EliteBook Folio 9470m.
These models are based on Intel's third-generation ultrabook platform, and feature technologies such as vPro for remote management and security plus solid state drives (SSDs) to reduce power consumption and extend out the battery life.
However, business buyers have other requirements, such as the ability to access the battery, disk and memory for maintenance and upgrades, while many consumer ultrabooks are sealed units to cut production costs.
"Part of their business practice is to be able to pre-build their corporate image on SSD and fit that into the machine to provision it, and if you can't access it then you have to change your practices," said Sheppard.
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