Inside the Microsoft-HP InitiativeBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2010-01-15 Email Print
In announcing their massive three-year, $250 million alliance to build optimized data center systems, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard went to great pains to make their respective and mutual partner communities an integral part of their go-to-market strategy. It’s a stark contrast to other vendors’ approach.
The many reports that peg the Microsoft-HP alliance as a cloud computing initiative are imprecise. This deal is simply about the data center and using the data center as a platform for private and hybrid clouds – eventually. The concept is very much in line with the Microsoft "software+services" framework, which states that businesses will always have some level of on-premise infrastructure and applications.
But this is more than just the creation of better data centers and private clouds. It’s about attached sales. Under CEO Mark Hurd’s leadership, HP has driven the notion of attached sales through its channel – if a partner is going to sell a server, why not sell a software, desktop or peripheral unit with it. Attached sales increases revenue and profitability by increasing the sales yield from a fewer number of sales engagements and customer touches. Microsoft applications optimized and simplified to run on HP servers will undoubtedly lead to a higher attached sales rate for both companies and its partners.
Do Microsoft and HP have all the answers for how their massive initiative will work or what it will produce for its partners? No. In fact, many partners hadn’t heard of the alliance because Microsoft and HP were extremely careful about not violating antitrust rules. But it seems as though Microsoft and HP are—so far—doing well by their partners in the initial stages of this alliance. While no product or alliance launch is perfect or delivers absolute results, the approach Microsoft and HP are taking is anything but "hurry up and wait."
Lawrence M. Walsh is vice president and group publisher of Channel Insider. Click here to read his blog, Secure Channel, for the latest insights on security technology and policy trends affecting solution providers.