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Although the pricing and customer targets of Dell’s new direct managed services offering go to the heart of MSP competitive offerings in the New York market, managed service providers there took the news in stride.

Dell’s offering targets businesses with from five to hundreds of employees, according to Dell, and pricing falls into three tiers—Alerts only, Resolution and Management—with the rates hitting squarely in the middle of where partners are typically pricing their services.

For Alerts only, the price is $9 per desktop or laptop per month and $59 per server per month. For Resolution, pricing is $39 per desktop or laptop per month and $199 per server per month. For Management, pricing is $59 per desktop or laptop per month and $299 per server per month.

Dell provided a typical scenario of a Resolution-level customer with 50 PCs, five servers and five network devices (at $89 per month) at an annual price of about $40,000.

"Our offering is not that far off from Dell’s price points," said Adam Eiseman, president and CEO at the Lloyd Group, a service provider in the New York metro market. "But our customers are looking for more. They are looking for high-touch."

Eiseman said he doesn’t believe that Dell will be able to make inroads into winning the types of customers his company targets, regardless of similar pricing.

"I don’t know that Dell will be able to deliver on quality of service," Eiseman said. "I don’t necessarily see it as a threat. Most of our clients are willing to pay a little bit more for quality of service."

Eiseman said one of his clients actually used to work with Michael Dell, and after suffering through personal experiences with Dell’s customer service sent an e-mail to the company’s founder complaining about its treatment of customers.

Doug Ford of The I.T. Pros, whose MSP business has been a longtime Dell partner, also took the news in stride, but with an ominous warning to non-Dell partners.

"The message to the partners in the New York metro area was pretty clear: Become a certified Dell partner in the managed services discipline and start selling Dell’s Managed Services offering or expect to see direct sales reps selling it around you," Ford said. "Partners are protected through [Dell’s] customer registration program."

Ford’s business is actually in the San Diego market, but Dell has promised to bring its direct managed services offering to U.S. metropolitan areas and abroad following its move into New York.

"After learning more about the program, it isn’t that scary if you take the time and make the effort to become a Dell certified partner," Ford said.