Unified Communications: HP’s 2 Secret Weapons Against Cisco
As the Cisco Partner Summit and HP Americas Partner Conference approach in late April, The VAR Guy is poking around both camps for some updates on their respective unified communications strategies. During a chat with HP yesterday, The VAR Guy stumbled onto an obvious (but intriguing) advantage HP may hold in the UC market. Here it is.
First, a little background. The HP (April 26-28, Las Vegas) and Cisco (April 26-29) partner conferences have overlapping schedules for 2010 — the latest twist in an ongoing grudge match between the two computing giants. Amid rising competition on multiple fronts (storage, servers, networking, UC), Cisco canceled its channel partner relationship with HP in February 2010.
Getting the Story Out
Meanwhile, HP is reaching out to media to share a bit more about the company’s unified communications strategy. Manfred Arndt, a distinguished technologist and convergence solutions architect at HP, is quick to note that more and more UC solutions will be deployed on industry standard hardware. Plus, Arndt says, HP will maintain open relations with a range of hardware, software, networking and unified communications companies.
Two prime examples: During the recent VoiceCon conference in Orlando, HP announced:
- A mobile workforce initiative involving Microsoft Communications Server 14
- A global agreement with Polycom for visual and unified communications solutions
Two Key Areas of HP Expertise
So far, so good. But here’s the really interesting part — and it involves more opportunities with Microsoft.
The crux of the matter: Can you name Microsoft’s largest Exchange Server partner and Microsoft SharePoint partner — in terms of seats deployed?
The answer is HP, notes Arndt. And since many UC systems include Exchange Server and SharePoint as core components, HP could be sitting in a prime position for new UC business — especially as Exchange and SharePoint customers begin to evaluate Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (soon to be replaced by Communications Server 14).
Should Cisco Systems be worried? Hmmm… let’s keep things in perspective. The networking and UC markets are big enough for multiple competitors. But The VAR Guy certainly enjoys the fireworks between HP and Cisco. And our resident blogger expects plenty of colorful language from both companies during their upcoming partner conferences in April 2010.