OK, so Dell and Apple have been locked in a marketing war for years. Dell has long been considered the default PC for enterprise, while Apple has positioned itself as the most influential consumer computer brand in the world. But Apple has branched out from computing with the iPod and, of course, the iPhone.
Now it's looking more and more likely that Dell might be going the way of the smartphone, as well, but don't look for an iPhone competitor, at least not at first. Dell tried something similar to take on the iPod, but the effort felt half-hearted at best.
But that was a consumer product and not where Dell's strengths lie. The other tech company that can compete with Dell as far as enterprise saturation is RIM. BlackBerrys are to this decade what power ties were to the '80s--a ubiquitous accessory of the businessperson.
And that's who Dell will likely be going after. Consider this: your company has Dell servers, so what if Dell offered a special Dell suite of Dell software to connect your Dell servers to your Dell smartphones? Something like what RIM offers, but more compatibility with the Dell ecosystem many businesses already have. And better package deals on hardware when you buy everything together.
What we're looking at in the smartphone market today is exactly what happened with the PC market 10 years ago. The product lines are clearly separating into consumer and enterprise brands. And for everyone involved, that's a good thing. It's a good bet they'll separate even further in the future.