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Microsoft doesn't know about enterprise sales, says HP boss

Platt accidentally damns sales efforts of one of his company's key allies

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Microsoft's enterprise sales team probably won't be entirely impressed by reports of HP CEO Lewis Platt's keynote at Gartner's ITExpo Symposium yesterday. "They're trying hard," said Lew helpfully. "[But] they don't know a lot about the enterprise space." That of course is why HP is allied with Microsoft, and Platt says his company is helping build a "robust enterprise NT." Whether or not this means we get to blame HP for slippage in the NT 5.0 schedule as well as Microsoft, we know not. The real theme of Platt's address was the company's alliances with Microsoft and Intel, the value HP could bring to them and the way HP could use the relationships to leverage its position. But at the moment neither of these look like they're panning out precisely as HP intended. Intel's focus recently has been shifting away from Merced and towards more mass-market IA-32 chips. It's worth noting that the current Intel roadmaps show Foster/Colusa, which will be the major sellers in 2000-2001, as powering 2-4 CPU servers, and Merced 4-8, initially, with the architecture eventually going up to 32. Platt's determination to apply the experience HP has of large Unix servers to the Wintel space is therefore to some extent undermined by Intel's focus. For the immediate future, it may be more or less on its own for 8-way and above. Microsoft's problems over NT 5.0 will themselves have an effect on HP's scalability plans. Until the latest target dates were announced late in the summer, Microsoft's executives were working internally to a Q1 ship date for NT 5.0. This was certainly a case of hope flying in the face of all the facts, but the slippage clearly causes major problems for HP. The company is basically trying to transfer its Unix enterprise approach to Wintel when many of the pieces needed to implement it there are still missing. HP has now moved Wintel servers over to an enterprise group that consists of both Wintel and PA-Risc platforms, but it's in severe danger of offering customers a confused sales pitch. Piquantly, at the Symposium Platt seems to have been ambushed by a couple of Gartner Group's analysts who said they reckoned HP lost 10-15 per cent of customers because HP lacks support and consulting services. Useful things for enterprise sales, these. ® Click for more stories

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