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Although he was battling laryngitis, Hewlett-Packard
Mark Hurd’s message to VARs Feb. 25 at the vendor’s partner conference came
through loud and clear: HP needs the channel’s help and will do whatever it
takes to help them drive new business.  

Hurd spoke to HP channel partners at the vendor’s annual partner conference,
held Feb. 25-28 in

Las Vegas
, and
emphasized the importance of channel partners to HP’s continued growth.  HP
has grown from an $80 billion company in 2004 to $104 billion in 2007, he said,
driven by channel success.

"We are not the biggest IT company in the

we are not leading in the

I know no other way to change that trend rapidly than to ask for [channel
partners’] help," Hurd said, acknowledging that conflict still exists
between HP’s direct sales force and HP VARs.  

Read more about Hurd’s comments here.

Hurd said he and other HP executives recognize that partners often have
difficulty working with HP, and that the company is often slow to respond when
dealing with
VAR questions, deal registrations
and even order fulfillment. However, he said, HP is doing everything it can
to eradicate those problems and has cut multiple levels of bureaucracy in the
past few years.  Changes to the PartnerOne program were aimed at making it
easier for VARs to work with HP, Hurd said.

Hurd pledged to partners that he and his executive team will go to great
lengths to help them close deals and upsell across HP’s entire portfolio.

He added that he is willing to make phone calls and send e-mails to existing
and potential customers on partners’ behalf, or even visit with those customers
face to face if it could help close a sale. "I would be willing to
sit with [VARs’] customers if that would help.  There’s no commitment we
won’t try, unless it’s illegal or unethical," Hurd said.  

All HP executives were told they have support from the top to make any
changes necessary to drive new business and new product lines through the
channel, he said.  Hurd said HP recognizes that while currently 65 percent
of revenues are generated from mature markets, the 35 percent that come from
emerging markets and SMBs (small and midsize businesses) represent a huge
opportunity both for HP and its VARs.  

Is HP showing signs of desperation? Read Sara Driscoll’s blog.

"We don’t have resources today to take advantage of all the
opportunities out there," he said.  Hurd added that HP is extremely
eager to engage with partners to take advantage of those opportunities in the
SMB and midmarket space where VARs have the greatest foothold and hold greater

Hurd said that analysts predicted the company will post revenues of between
$111 billion and $114 billion in 2008 and that the channel is HP’s key weapon
in its go-to-market strategy. 

He also said HP needs to focus on increasing market share in the

. Based on the company’s second-quarter
results, Hurd said that only 31 percent of total revenue was generated within

United States
with the other 69 percent coming from outside of the

, a balance he said he hopes channel
partners can help to shift.