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Microsoft’s New Partnership with Dell and HP

Yesterday, September 8th 2015, Microsoft announced that it will be partnering with Dell and HP to retail their Microsoft Surface tablets. This is quite a surprising partnership, as Dell and HP have been two very large competitors with Microsoft in the tablet market ever since their launch of the Microsoft-branded Surface tablet a few years ago. With this new partnership in place, Dell and HP will soon be able to sell the Microsoft Surface line of tablets as well as provide support for these devices. While it may seem weird that these three giant competitors are suddenly forming a partnership, let me try to explain the situation through graph theory.

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As we learned in class, relations tend to balance themselves over time, whether these are relations between people, corporations, or even entire countries. As we can see in the above graph, Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Apple were all enemies with one another in the tablet market as they all produce different brands of tablets that compete with one another for market share. Since all the relations are negative, and every triangle of nodes formed is unbalanced, this makes the relations between the four companies extremely unstable.

Apple’s new upcoming iPad Pro is the spark that breaks this unstable situation as it pressures Microsoft into partnering with HP and Dell. This is because both Apple’s new iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 are very similar products that target the same, corporate demographic. The two tablets share incredibly similar features, with both featuring larger than average 12 inch screen sizes, folding keyboard covers, high-performance processors, and styluses designed for easy notetaking. Due to how Apple has a much larger name in the tablet market than Microsoft, and how Apple launched a product that clearly attacks Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 by mimicking many of its features, it is obvious that Microsoft was forced to brace itself and its Surface line of tablets. By partnering with HP and Dell in retailing the Surface, Microsoft will be able to get the Surface brand name out to more people and try to win back some of the market share that the iPad Pro will take away.

With this new partnership, Microsoft and HP have formed a positive relation in the tablet market, and Microsoft and Dell have formed a positive relation as well. Looking back at the graph, this is a very natural progression of relations as it balances the relations between Microsoft, HP, and Apple as well as the relations between Microsoft, Dell, and Apple. This is because the two sets of relations change from negative,negative,negative, which is unbalanced and unstable, to positive,negative, negative, which is balanced and more stable. It has been analyzed that sets of unbalanced relations like these tend to end up balancing themselves over time, so it’s not too surprising that competitors like Microsoft, HP, and Dell, team up in attempt to defeat a mutual enemy.

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However, this partnership is not enough to create a fully balanced graph, as the relation between HP and Dell is still unbalanced. This makes it so that two unbalanced triangles still exist between Microsoft, HP, and Dell, as well as Apple, HP and Dell. Perhaps over time, as the four relations continue to naturally balance themselves, we will eventually see a partnership between HP and Dell which would balance the entire graph.

 

Sources:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/83049/20150909/microsoft-announces-partnership-dell-hp-sell-surface-pro-tablets.htm

http://fortune.com/2015/09/09/ipad-envy-prompted-microsoft-surface-alliance/

http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/9/9290361/hands-on-with-apples-new-ipad-pro

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