Cisco Tosses HP From Channel Partner Ranks

Networking vendor ends long-term channel relationship, cites conflicting visions, divergent approaches.

February 19, 2010
By

D.H. Kass

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Cisco Systems Inc. said that it will not renew its system integrator contract with Hewlett-Packard Co., abruptly terminating HP’s long-standing status as a certified channel partner and service provider at the end of April 2010.

“Over the last few years our relationship with HP has evolved from a partner to companies with different and conflicting visions of how to deliver value to customers,” said Keith Goodwin, Cisco senior vice president, worldwide channels, in a video blog post.

“We recently notified HP that we will not renew its system integrator contract when it expires on April 30th 2010, resulting in HP no longer being a Cisco Certified Channel or Global Service Alliance partner,” he said.

The back-and-forth conflict between the two companies sparked noticeably in the past few months, framed primarily by last year’s pricing skirmish, Cisco’s pursuit of data center customers through its Unified Computing System, HP’s expanded partnership with Microsoft, and HP’s purchase of 3Com Corp., generally viewed as a competitive move on Cisco.

While Goodwin did not address any specific incidents that may have marred the relationship, he suggested that the heightened competition between the two companies prompted the move, also offering that Cisco believes that HP does not share its “network-centric vision.”

Goodwin made it clear that Cisco had become skittish over HP’s access to vital Cisco information.

“Being a Cisco Certified Channel Partner has numerous benefits including access to proprietary information, such as product roadmaps, and partner profitability initiatives,” he said. “Given the evolution of our relationship it simply no longer makes sense to provide these benefits to HP.”

Goodwin said that Cisco is “taking this action to be transparent to both partners and customers. We will compete with HP for future business. That said, our top priority is our customers.”

Still, the relationship between the two vendors is not altogether done and they are likely to work together in some capacity in the future.

“We have already reached out to HP to begin the discussion around a new agreement that ensures business continuity for existing customers but better reflects the current state of our relationship,” Goodwin said.

“We will also honor Cisco customer service contracts with HP for their duration. Our commitment is clear--we will continue to work with HP wherever our customers expect it and where it makes sense for our business.”

HP could not be reached for comment at post time.

TAGS: Cisco,HP,channel partner



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