Cisco’s New Spin On Potential HP Price War
Some words echo across the IT channel. A case in point: Back in June, Cisco Systems Senior VP Chuck Robbins allegedly uttered three infamous words that declared war on Hewlett-Packard. Fast forward to the present, and Cisco Senior VP Wendy Bahr (pictured) is striving to soften Robbins’ words with new perspectives. It’s an interesting case study in channel competition, and blogger-driven gossip. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.
First, the back story. At Cisco Partner Summit on June 4, The VAR Guy reported:
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.
Fast forward to the present. Robbins’ words seem to be haunting Cisco… gradually moving from the blogosphere into the IT media. Follow-up stories about the potential Cisco-HP price war have appeared here and here on CRN.
Cisco Channel Blog
Eager to clarify the situation, Cisco is taking its message direct to its own partners — through the company’s channel blog.
In a July 9 blog entry, Cisco Senior VP Wendy Bahr emphasizes value over sales volume:
By knowing they will be rewarded for the value they deliver to the customers, not the volume they deliver to the vendor, our partners have the confidence to build their businesses around solving customers’ toughest issues and addressing their greatest opportunities.
Finally, Bahr addresses the “Refuse to Lose” comment allegedly uttered by Robbins, stating:
So if “value” remains our focus, what did we mean by “Refuse to Lose”?
We recognize that in this challenging economic environment it’s more important than ever that we help our customers realize the value from their IT investment. And at Cisco Partner Summit, we candidly discussed our passion to work with our partners to meet the challenge of competition from price and volume-driven vendors.
Hmmm. So, which “price and volume-driven vendor” keeps Cisco up at night? Bahr didn’t mention names in her blog entry. But Cisco certainly seems to have HP on its mind.