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The big story today for the channel is that Hewlett-Packard plans to acquire EDS. Plenty of people have weighed in on what it means for customers, the enterprise and shareholders. Here’s what people are saying about what it means for the channel.

IT ChannelPlanet speculates that the deal is just the most recent example of consolidation in the channel. The slowdown tends to accelerate such activities, and HP’s move could hasten the competitive environment for more such consolidations in the channel, according to ITChannelPlanet.

Ed Moltzen in his The Chart blog poses the question of what the HP/EDS deal will mean for Dell. He points out that Dell’s new services chief Stephen Schuckenbrock was recruited from EDS a little over a year ago.

Moltzen says that although rumors placed Dell as a potential suitor for EDS, the company ended up acquiring managed services and SAAS companies such as Silverback and Everdream instead. Moltzen speculates there may have been good reasons that Dell did not pursue such an EDS deal, given what it knew about that company after Schuckenbrock came onboard. Another take is that Dell is going after the SMB space with its platform while HP is targeting the enterprise and IBM Global Services.

Our own Mike Vizard says that channel partners will likely split in their assessments of whether the deal will be good for the channel or not, depending on whether they rely on hardware or services to drive their business. Those who sell services might view the deal as a threat. Indeed, he notes that IBM channel partners have a long history of conflict with the company’s gigantic global service business.

Forbes.com notes that HP competitors such as Xerox, Sun Microsystems and Dell have traditionally sold through EDS, and that channel may now be closing. Dell may be the biggest loser of all, they say, as the Dell/EDS alliance was once a strong one.

In other news, RSA is raising the bar on its partner program — both adding more benefits and asking for more from its top partners in return. The changes, which include market development funds, are coming as RSA is shifting from a focus on tokens to more complex products and services, according to SearchITChannel.com.