September 26, 2013
While Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5s sales generate headlines this week, Michael Dell quietly updated his data center vision. The VAR Guy’s reaction: Smartphones and tablets may be sexy, but bread-and-butter data center work is exactly why Dell is far more relevant than Apple to channel partners.
During OpenWorld 2013, Dell described how his company has emerged as Oracle’s (ORCL) preferred x86 server partner. And in recent weeks, Dell launched a formalized software partner program to help VARs and MSPs push deeper into virtualization, storage and IT management services.
During Dell’s recent shareholder battle to go private, Michael personally reached out to a range of VARs — listening closely to their feedback and assuring them Dell’s PartnerDirect program would march forward amid the shareholder vote. Dell also hired Frank Vitagliano, the former Juniper and IBM executive who has channel in his blood.
So what is Apple doing for channel partners? In 2012, the smartphone and tablet giant poked around HTG Peer Groups. There were signs that Apple was looking to embrace channel partners that understood mobile device management, mobile applications management and cloud services. But ultimately, Apple never really did get serious about VARs and MSPs.
Where do we go from here? Apple’s SMB strategy is built around the Apple Store — not resellers. While Dell’s business strategy involves more data center solutions. In some ways, Dell is getting sleepy and boring — especially since the company is now private and doesn’t need to report or disclose quarterly results.
Sometimes boring beats flashing and sexy — especially in the IT channel.
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