The story of HP has resembled a soap opera over the past few weeks.
Beginning in August with the shock announcement by then chief executive Léo Apotheker that the firm was looking to spin off or sell its PSG division, and ending in October with new chief executive Meg Whitman revealing the division will stay as it is, the saga has had more twists than a mountain road.
At the time, onlookers warned HP that it was too late to the party in trying to exit the PC business, and its decision to scrap the TouchPad confounded the market even more, with slashed prices leading to a feeding frenzy as consumers rushed to get their hands on a cut-price tablet (see box).
But following an evaluation across the business, it was decided that the division would remain part of HP, allowing its employees and its partners to focus fully on getting on with the job at hand.
Trevor Evans, UK and Ireland channel sales director at HP, admitted it has been a tough time for PSG employees, and said the decision was very welcome.
He praised the vendor’s channel partners for their support during a “fraught” time and revealed HP had even managed to grow its market share during its third fiscal quarter.
“The UK and Ireland channel has responded really well to us and we have not lost a single partner during that time,” he said. “Despite it being a distracting and hectic time, we managed to grow our share year on year for fiscal Q3 and have introduced a dozen new products to our line-up.
“Whatever [information] was thrown at us from our competition is frankly wrong. We are not underestimating the impact of the past few weeks and we are not disguising the fact it has been disrupting. But we have a clear strategy as to what we are doing.
“We have a number one position and we want to stretch that lead,” he added. “We know we have a big job to do from a communications point of view with partners, but our biggest job is going out and continuing to disrupt the marketplace.
“The market is flooded with opportunities for HP and our partners despite the difficulties over the past couple of months. We now have a new leadership and there is no reason why we cannot continue to stretch our lead in the market,” he said.
Future initiatives for partners include a revamped compensation model for its second-tier partners, Evans explained.
“This will allow existing partners to work more closely with us and provide compensation and incentives for those that work with other vendors closer than they perhaps work with HP.”
The vendor also intends to ramp up its presence in the upper mid-market - and is recruiting extra staff to increase its partner touch team in the space.
Next year the vendor will focus on education, he said.
“We want to be more visible in this area. The market is suffering from budget constraints, but that presents us with an opportunity,” he said, adding that HP’s sponsorship of the World Education Summit in January is the beginning of its push.
He concluded by urging partners to contact him or his team with any concerns.
“If there are partners with concerns, we should talk to them and we can assuage their fears. We have a strong road map and are here to stay,” he said.
The news was also welcomed by HP’s partners.
Loay Lawrence, commercial director at partner Vohkus, said: “For us, the news was very welcome. However, it did not really affect us or our customers, and when PSG said it was business as usual after the announcement, it really was for us. The whole episode was an unnecessary blip and I am glad it has come through the phase now.”
HP distributor TSD welcomed the news: “HP’s announcement gives the channel hope that a clearer business path is emerging which will be good for VADs, VARs and customers,” the firm said via Twitter.
Andy Dow, marketing director at C2000, added: “The whole channel is relieved it is over. While it appears the channel did not show any material dip in sales, it is good to get this episode out the way and let us go back to doing what we do best.”
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