iPhone Inspires Handset Headhunt

Other computer manufacturers are likely to follow Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL)'s lead and raid the mobile handset world for executive talent, according to a Dresdner Kleinwort analyst.

Last Friday, Dell announced it had poached Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s mobile devices president Ron Garriques to head up its new global consumer division. Garriques will report directly to chairman and CEO Michael Dell, and is set to lead the company's mobile strategy. (See Moto Handset Chief Quits.)

Now Dresdner analyst Per Lindberg believes other IT vendors will follow suit in an effort to keep pace with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), which unveiled its iPhone in January. (See Apple Makes iPhone Call and Cingular: The iPhone Price Is Right .)

Lindberg says other companies likely to be on the prowl for mobile handset talent include HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992), Acer Inc. , Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502), and Fujitsu Siemens Computers .

The Dresdner man doesn't expect these companies to stand back and watch Apple move into the mobile sector without a direct challenge, and believes they have plans to "emulate" Apple’s mobile expansion. Some are already active in the sector: At last week's 3GSM show in Barcelona, HP launched a new iPAQ smartphone, which includes VOIP capabilities and push email.

But while it's "utterly clear that Dell wants to be stronger in mobile," Lindberg believes the main reason for Garriques's abrupt departure from the Schaumburg, Ill.-based vendor was a fallout with Motorola management. "Profits collapsed in the fourth quarter and margins fell from 12 percent to 4 percent," says Lindberg, suggesting that Garriques thought it better to leave than to be "kicked." (See Motorola Profit Falls 48%.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

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