Cisco Challenges HP-Microsoft Alliance

Looks like things are heating up between Cisco, HP and Microsoft. Given the decline in the worldwide router market, is it any wonder Cisco is angling to tap new markets?  Now that Cisco has been added to the Dow, there’s even more pressure to sustain revenue levels, and Cisco executives have hinted the fight is about to escalate, with the company expanding into multiple “market adjacencies.”

Undoubtedly, Cisco has HP’s markets clearly in its sights as it made much of its new partner programs for data center virtualization and Unified Communications during last week’s partner summit. In a play to rile up the partners, Cisco execs have claimed the HP-Microsoft alliance cuts partners out of the solution sale. But the competition begs to differ. 

Adrian Jones,  HP's vice president and general manager of Americas Solution Partner organization, responded:  “HP and Microsoft are fully committed to working with our highly-skilled joint channel partners in the Frontline Partnership. There are more than 30,000 joint HP and Microsoft partners. 2,000 of them have a competency in Microsoft Unified Communications. A number of these partners are already working to leverage this new solution stack to deliver more value to their customers and grow their business. The unified communications and collaboration initiative between HP and Microsoft will deliver an even more compelling value proposition for our customers and partners.”

Unaffected, Cisco execs have questioned the quality of the HP-Microsoft networking solution, arguing that customers will have to undergo forklift upgrades. HP has collaborated with multiple players over time, but the current alliance with Microsoft appears solid, and the HP networking products (Procurve) are doing well.

Channel partners could be winners in this struggle as Cisco and HP rush to offer rich incentives designed to build loyalty and lock in partner mindshare.

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