Dell: Apple iPad Will Lose to Android, Windows Tablets

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Just when you thought it was safe to pick up an iPad, Dell claims Apple’s days as the tablet industry’s big kahuna are numbered–and I’m sure you’re totally surprised.

Meet Dell’s global head of marketing, Andy Lark, who didn’t mince words about Apple’s prospects during a recent chat with CIO Australia. While Lark acknowledged the iPad’s meteoric rise and role in catalyzing the tablet market, he says it’s already doomed to fail in enterprise adoption.

“I couldn’t be happier that Apple has created a market and built up enthusiasm but longer term, open, capable and affordable will win, not closed, high price and proprietary,” said Lark. “[Apple has] done a really nice job, they’ve got a great product, but the challenge they’ve got is that already Android is outpacing them.”

He’s not wrong–Android is outpacing Apple. Nielsen reported earlier this month that Android sales pulled ahead of Apple and Blackberry in the U.S. between November and January, staking out 29 percent of total market share compared with Apple and RIM’s 27 percent each.

And the notion that “closed and proprietary” models have inescapable shelf lives should resonate with fans of “open and affordable.” Apple’s iPad isn’t cheap, even if Android-based alternatives like Motorola’s XOOM and Samsung’s Galaxy aren’t doing the anti-iPad price argument any favors.

Of course Lark’s claim that an iPad with a keyboard, mouse, and case costs between “$1500 and $1600″ is flatly specious. You can pick up an iPad with WiFi and 3G for as little as $630 (and at most $830). Everything else can be had for just a couple hundred more.

And Lark’s comments seem to clash with Forrester Research CEO George Colony’s prediction last week that Apple would become a $200 billion revenue giant by the end of 2012, making the company bigger than either HP or IBM, or “the largest technology company in the world.”

Then again, we could write this off as another misplaced “consumer” vs. “enterprise” kerfuffle. The iPad appeals primarily to consumers at the moment. While Apple may have designs on enterprise deployments, that’s a different playbook entirely, with vastly more complex and often proprietary requirements all its own.

More on TIME.com:

Dell Outs ‘Inspiron Duo’ Tablet/Netbook Hybrid

Apple’s iPad 2: It’s Still the One

So Long First-Gen iPad, We Hardly Knew You

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