Dell and HP Duke It Out in The Channel

The latest PC market-share numbers from Gartner show that channel loyalty is paying off as a strategy for Hewlett-Packard, but Dell is narrowing the gap. Dell lost the market-share lead in global PC shipments to HP back in 2006.

Since then, Dell revamped its direct-sales model,launched its own channel-sales effort and has been gaining on HP. Gartner reported than in the last quarter, HP's shipments rose 17.1 percent. But Dell's rose 21.9 percent, thanks mainly to the 13,000 reseller and retail oulets it has moved into during the past year. HP, in comparison, has 80,000 channel partners.

Dell has been making a concerted effort to play in the channel, but there is still a lot of distrust of the vendor's overall sales strategy and plenty of lingering loyalty for HP, which has a strong channel legacy. Nevertheless, Dell seems committed to stepping up its channel game, no doubt hoping to displace HP. Now, Dell's channel chief tells CRN's ChannelWeb that the company intends to add 250 to 300 new channel partners weekly, focusing on the hot managed services and enterprise architecture areas. It's an ambitious strategy, and one that HP seems likely to counter. The battle for market dominance will be played out squarely in the channel.

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