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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hewlett Packard Americas Partner Conference

I am currently in Las Vegas, Nevada, attending the Hewlett Packard Americas Partner Conference. The sessions are generally valuable (although 2 1/2 hour sessions can be excruciating), Mark Hurd spoke well last night, and John Fogerty is scheduled to appear this evening.

No new technical announcements here, but you can certainly pick up on HP's emphases, including their views on the competition: IBM, Dell, Sun, and others. In one session, one of the attendees talked about Xerox in the printer market, and some of the financial incentives that Xerox is reputedly providing to sell its printers.

Yes, financial incentives. This conference is about selling stuff, gaining market share, gaining margin. Good stuff.

Obviously HP wants its partners to sell the whole HP portfolio, and will adjust its incentives accordingly. Even if it means fewer partners:

Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd said HP will give channel partners whatever resources it takes to beat Dell, IBM and other rivals, but in the future he sees the vendor going to battle with fewer but more loyal partners.

"We are looking for aggressive help, and we'll get just as aggressive as we possibly can to go to the marketplace and win in these strategic battlegrounds," Hurd said late Monday in a keynote address to 1,200 solution providers at HP's Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas. "We need you. We need your help. There's virtually nothing we wouldn't do short of illegal or unethical to help you go to the marketplace and win."...

In response to a solution provider question on where he sees HP as a company in three years, Hurd said, "I hope we would be leading in most efficiency categories. I hope we are [in a] three-year evolution of the trends and strategies I have described ... and the channel, if it is not doing the same percent of business, doing more.

"But at the same time, I would like to see higher attach and higher loyalty indexes coming out of our channel," Hurd continued. "If that means for us to coalesce around fewer channel partners, I'd be fine with that. If you look at our aggregated list of channel partners, we almost have as many people that call themselves partners as we have employees in the company. We want to put more energy behind key partners that really want to rally behind us."


One word has not been uttered in public during this conference - Carly. But she's still around:

She was the first lady of American business during her 5 1/2 -year tenure at Hewlett-Packard Co. But after a contentious proxy battle with Walter Hewlett and a merger with Houston-based Compaq Computer, Fiorina was shown the door as HP suffered major financial setbacks.

Such a hard fall from the corner office might have been a career stopper for some. Not Fiorina.

More than a year after she was fired, Fiorina has emerged as a sought-after board member, an inspirational speaker at home and abroad and as an author, poised to release a "brutally honest" memoir, Tough Choices, in October.

Perhaps most importantly, Fiorina is building a bridge between Silicon Valley and Washington, hoping to use her contacts in the nation's capital to help the technology industry fulfill its agenda.


Back to the new boss. Hurd and company took great pains to state that the new HP salespeople that they're hiring are intended to complement the channel:

HP (NYSE:HPQ - News; Nasdaq:HPQ - News) today announced that it is bolstering its channel program with increased financial incentives -- in some case by more than 50 percent -- and expanded field sales support to magnify the competitive advantage of its channel partners.

Introduced at the HP Americas Partner Conference, the enhanced program spans HP's businesses. For the United States and Canada, the program increases incentives for the second half of HP's fiscal year, giving channel partners the opportunity to receive a 50 percent increase in compensation for the sales of certain products.

The increased incentives apply to the industry-standard server business -- including the recently announced HP BladeSystem c-Class -- and for personal systems products and services. It nearly doubles incentives for color and multi-function printers.

Additionally, HP is increasing its investment by 20 percent in resources to help channel partners hunt, mine and close business. Channel partners will get more field sales support, including more business managers, sales specialists and system engineers.


At this conference, there are partners, and there are partners. At the top of the chain are the two Platinum Sponsors, Intel and Microsoft. Arrayed below this are the Gold Sponsors, Cisco, Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, and VMware. Plus there are a bunch of Silver Partners, but you have to search to find out who they are. (If you're curious, they're Accenture, AMD, AT&T, Axway, BEA Systems, Brocade Communications, Capgemini, Cognos, Compuware, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Hyperion Solutions, i2 Technologies, Informatic Corporation, Novell, QAD, Sage Software, SAS, SSA Global, Symantec, and UGS.)

P.S. If you want to book John Fogerty for *your* corporate event, go here.

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