Microsoft-HP Deal: More Vapor Than Cloud?
The blogosphere is buzzing about the latest partnership between Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. No doubt, the duo has a longstanding relationship in the IT market. But The VAR Guy has to ask: Is there really anything all that “new” here? Or was the Microsoft-HP announcement a preemptive response to anticipated competition from Cisco Systems and Oracle-Sun, respectively?
Sure, the deal seems to cover every aspect of both companies’ enterprise offerings, from server software up to Windows Azure. Thankfully, Microsoft Corporate VP Allison Watson boiled down all the hype with a few concise bullet points. She says the expanded Microsoft-HP relationship will deliver:
- Increased efficiency by providing a converged application platform, unified management, and integrated infrastructure solutions designed to be self-managing, self-tuned, and self-provisioned.
- Enhanced productivity by deploying integrated, heterogeneous management across HP and Microsoft environments.
- Optimized solutions by increasing performance, availability, and reliability through integrated, uniquely engineered data management and messaging solutions.
- Reduced risk by leveraging expanded service offerings and worldwide support to ensure business success based on existing IT investments.
There’s a jungle of buzz-words in the press release that left our team of bloggers reeling. The key takeaway: HP plans on more closely tie their software together with Microsoft’s offerings. In particular, keep a close on Microsoft System Center.
Plenty of Skeptics
Still, even the mainstream media is raising a skeptical eye. The New York Times offered the following tongue-in-cheek observations of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and HP CEO Mark Hurd:
Mr. Ballmer [and] Mr. Hurd…spent about 30 minutes saying that Microsoft and H.P. have formed a really, really, really tight relationship that supersedes their previous really, really tight relationship….and started selling prepackaged bundles of their software and hardware to customers [so] customers can avoid doing such grunt work on their own.
The NY Times article quotes Hurd saying that it’s not just another press release, it’s a big deal, even if it doesn’t seem that way from the press release. He stressed that the integration in these bundles are super tight-knit.
History of Success
Of course, it’s important to point out that Microsoft and HP have enjoyed serious success together in the enterprise. From massive Microsoft Exchange deployments to more recent Microsoft SharePoint initiatives, HP knows how to marry its hardware with Microsoft’s software.
No doubt, HP and Microsoft will need to work more closely as new rivals emerge — particularly Cisco Systems (unified communications software and unified computing system servers) and Oracle (amid the pending Sun Microsystems takeover).
So, publicity stunt or smooth move? You be the judge.
With additional reporting by David Courbanou and Matthew Weinberger.