HP Rolls Touchpad, webOS Phones into PartnerOne

By Jessica Davis

A few weeks ago, HP CEO Leo Apotheker provided his vision of where the industry is headed and how HP will lead the charge to the cloud and an everyone-connected world in his inaugural address to analysts, press and employees. This week, at the HP Americas Partner Conference (HPAPC), in Las Vegas, Apotheker and other HP executives told channel partners just where they fit into that plan.

HP will roll its mobility and cloud offerings into the PartnerOne channel program, executives with the company told Channel Insider. Those products will also be sold to consumers.

The inclusion in the PartnerOne program means partners will be eligible for everything from market-development funds (MDF) to demo units of mobility products, such as tablets and smartphones, according to Meaghan Kelly, vice president of SPO marketing and strategy at HP.

In addition, HP will introduce an Elite designation for mobility in November of this year.

Partners will be eligible to sell HP tablets and smartphones. Commercial customers who buy them will be taken through a process to help them sign up with a wireless carrier.  HP's director of Americas Channel Marketing, Matt Smith, said that HP's model for mobility products was created so that partners don't suffer a disadvantage from customers shopping consumer channels versus commercial channels.

Initially, HP expects more sales of these mobility products in the consumer market, but as time passes executives at the company believe the usage pattern of commercial versus consumer will be about 50-50.

Channel chief Stephen DiFranco told Channel Insider that the opportunities for channel partners in the cloud will be huge—from building private clouds for customers to using HP's public cloud to provide services. But partners that don't have a cloud plan in place right now shouldn't panic, according to Smith.

"Partners are concerned, 'What's my play in the cloud,' " Smith said. "There are lots of different business models. I don't want partners thinking that there's just one cloud environment. I don't want partners to overreact to the cloud. They are not going to miss something. Partners will not have to change their business models. This will not be a right-hand turn for everybody."

At the moment, HP has no plans to add an Elite designation for cloud computing. Instead, Smith said, HP will make its Converged Infrastructure Elite designation more robust. New tracks are expected to launch on November 1, but information about them will be available as early as May 1.


All these details are part of HP's larger vision of mobility and the cloud. At the conference, Apotheker further told partners that the cloud was changing the consumption model for technology. And yet many cloud providers, Websites and other technology services are built on the HP infrastructure. Apotheker told partners he was depending on them to deliver the solutions enabled by HP's portfolio of offerings.

"Customers need a trusted partner to help navigate this new world," he said. ". . . You extend our reach to cover more of the market and create more value for customers."

Apotheker described a world of context-aware Web-enabled devices from infrastructure to tablets to printers.

"With Web-connected printers, people can print from any Web-connected device," he said. "We shipped three million Web-connected printers in Q1 alone."

Changes are underway in the industry, Apotheker said.

"The paradigm of people with separate personal and work lives is over," he said in his keynote address at HP APC. "People are looking for simpler, more elegant technology. That means consumer cycles are pushing the enterprise to evolve."

Apotheker told partners that HP's strategy was to:

  • Optimize traditional environments;
  • Build and manage next-generation cloud architectures;
  • Enable customer transformation to hybrid models;
  • Define and deliver the connected world from consumer to enterprise.

Apotheker repeated HP's previous announcement that the company plans to build and run its own public cloud as well as offer middleware, which he dubbed "platform-as-a-service." That cloud and platform will be open to developers and support multiple languages.

"Altogether, this complete ecosystem will deliver a context-aware experience that spans from the enterprise to the home," he said.

This article was originally published on 2011-03-29