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Dell’s expansion of its direct managed services offering to the New York metropolitan market may be the beginning of a betrayal that fractures the company’s relationship with its channel partners — after less than a year of trying to win them over.

One of Dell’s PartnerOne advisory council members reports that during a Q&A session at the recent advisory council meeting, Michael Dell was asked about the long-term managed services strategy. Dell told the partners present that the company would not target companies of fewer than 500 employees when it sold direct managed services.

Yet the New York direct managed services offering is going after businesses with from five to hundreds of employees, according to Dell. Pricing for the program also hits square in the middle of where partners are typically pricing their services.

Pricing falls into three tiers: Alerts, Resolution and Management. 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 50 PCs, five servers and five network devices (at $89 per month) at an annual price of about $40,000 for the Resolution level.

“That’s right in line with what we offer,” the non-New York-based PartnerOne advisory council member and MSP said.