Do computer manufacturers care more about small business or about Corporate America? That's the topic Wall Street Journal personal tech columnist Walter Mossberg addresses today in the piece, "Computer Makers Cater to Big Business, Slight the Rest of Us." In it he writes that large computer companies, like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, focus on the corporate customers, the volume buyers with big IT departments, despite the fact that consumers and small businesses conduct a "vast amount of business critical to the U.S. economy" each day. Furthermore, he notes that when the manufacturers do make a concerted effort to address small business needs, most small businesses are lumped into the SMB category, where he says the minimum size generally hovers around 500 employees.
What particularly struck me about his column was his point about how small businesses are frequently lumped into the "SMB market," a term that seems to become broader as manufacturers look to make their products relevant to the largest number of people while still trying to address the needs of small business. Do businesses with 10 employees have the same computing needs as those with 200? Likely, no. This broad catchall, while serving the manufacturers' needs, seems to do a disservice to small businesses seeking technology solutions that truly fit.