IBM slips ahead of Dell for small businesses

Dell may shift more boxes but IBM leads market in innovation and services

Dell may shift the most hardware to US small and medium businesses (SMB) but IBM is innovating its way to market leadership according to new research.

A new report from the Yankee Group on finds IBM's Express systems are of most interest to the SMB market thanks to aggressive pricing and good support.

Dell is the number one volume retailer for the sector and the company comes in for praise for its user friendly web site and the tools it offers to choose and set up new systems.

"Increased focus on SMB- and mid-market-specific business solutions is just one proof point that IT computing for this segment is a strategic priority for the top computing vendors IBM, Dell, HP and Sun," said Sanjeev Aggarwal, senior analyst at the Yankee Group for small and medium business strategies.

"For vendors to increase their market share with SMBs and mid-market companies, a focus on innovative changes in products and channel programs will be instrumental."

The report was bad news for HP, since it concludes the company is slipping behind the other players. But the authors suggest it has a big opportunity to clean up in the smallest business sector.

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