HP gears up to go direct

Server configuration scheme reveals hidden secret

A server configuration programme unveiled yesterday by Hewlett Packard is set to put the US giant on the road to direct selling, with its resellers left sitting on the services sidelines. With its eyes firmly fixed on the runaway success of Dell, HP is boasting that by taking NetServer configuration work away from its resellers and handling it in-house, it will be able to offer users Dell-beating prices and rapid order turnaround. Resellers will be left to concentrate on software and after-sales services, the company said in a prepared statement. Asked if HP was preparing to abandon its channel, Jackie Bakhai, HP's NetServer business manager, told The Register: "We have too much investment in the channel to drop it and sell direct," but she wouldn't deny that HP is putting itself in a 'direct seller' position. Whatever happens, by undercutting Dell, the program is likely to buy HP some time while it tackles the difficult task of merging the new and established selling models without treading on people's toes. The programme will be available to all HP resellers in the UK - provided that is they put forward the necessary money (£1.8m) and commitment (EDI) - and is to be extended to Europe next year. ®

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