Cisco vs. HP: Three Words of War
At the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, Cisco continues to rally partners against Hewlett-Packard. The three latest words of war allegedly come from Cisco’s Chuck Robbins (pictured), senior VP, U.S. Commercial Market. Here’s the scoop.
During a private meeting with channel partners, Robbins allegedly told VARs they must “Refuse To Lose” when competing with HP, according to three of The VAR Guy’s trusted sources. And Robbins allegedly tossed in this gem: “I am your personal deals desk.”
In other words, if Cisco partners need a better deal to beat HP on price, the partners should call Robbins directly. The Cisco partners said they wouldn’t take Robbins up on the offer because they don’t want to alienate their existing Cisco account representatives. But the message is clear: The war is on with HP.
Boston: The New Spin City
To the outside observer, Cisco Partner Summit 2009 is all about the company’s unified computing system plus the move to collaborative video. But those blogging from the Boston trenches — surely, The VAR Guy can’t be alone — have seen Cisco lob four grenades in HP’s direction:
- May 29, 2009: Cisco Channel Chief Keith Goodwin fired the first shot with a blog alleging the HP-Microsoft unified communications partnership was a direct sales play. But in a comment posted on TheVARguy.com, HP VP and GM Adrian Jones dismissed Cisco’s claims. And frankly, The VAR Guy thinks the HP-Microsoft deal will remain channel friendly — despite a poorly worded press release from the duo that failed to mention channel partners.
- June 3, 2009: In a morning keynote at Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco Senior VP Don Proctor alleged that HP and Microsoft planned to “build, sell and service” unified networks without partner help. And Proctor dismissed HP’s networking effort, stating: “When it comes to collaboration, dumb networks lose 10 times out of 10.” HP declined comment to The VAR Guy.
- June 3, 2009: During a late afternoon, hour-long media briefing, Cisco CEO John Chambers utters only four words about Hewlett-Packard: “We compete with HP.” Chambers talks fast. But it was impossible to miss that golden quote.
- Sometime recently: The VAR Guy must admit, he isn’t sure when Robbins allegedly told VARs they must “Refuse To Lose” to HP. But The VAR Guy’s trusted advisors say the words were uttered sometime June 3.
Frankly, The VAR Guy has spent a lot of virtual ink covering the alleged war between Cisco and HP. But so far, Cisco is the one firing all the shots. Other than posting a reply on TheVARguy.com and offering a comment to Everything Channel, HP has mostly taken the high road in this one-way war of words.
Plus, The VAR Guy wonders: Is Cisco playing the media? Are these HP-focused attacks part of an orchestrated Cisco media plan to ensure Wall Street understands just how aggressively Cisco wants to compete against HP — even if much of that competition doesn’t exist yet? Hmmm….