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HP to partners: sew your way to vertical Win 8 success

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Canalys APAC Mastery of a sewing machine may help the channel cash in on Windows 8, HP representatives have told the APAC Canalys Channels Forum.

Prowess in the domestic arts, the company said, could come in handy thanks to HP's provision of information and assistance to create covers and accessories for its Windows 8 devices.

That's not a call to action for the channel to diversify by asking just what Disney/Lucas will charge to slap Jar Jar Binks pictures on pretty cases, and is instead a service HP feels will appeal to those in the channel with expertise in vertical industries that might benefit from an injection of mobility, Windows 8 style. HP's betting some of those mobility-hungry companies fret about just how to use touch-centric devices in their workplaces and that a custom accessory will get them over the line.

Dion Weisler, senior vice-president for printing and personal systems for HP's Asia-Pacific and Japan, went out of his way to promote the availability of sewing patterns for HP kit in his keynote at the Canalys event.

Anneliese Olson, HP's veep from the same group did so again in a session on the BYOD opportunity in the channel, talking up a “Made for HP” program for accessories designed for its business tablet, the ElitePad. “This is very relevant to a business customer,” she said. “If you work in a particular customer segment, we can work with you to meet those needs.”

Dan Tindall, global vice president of worldwide channel sales for the same product group picked up the baton in a session on the Windows 8 channel opportunity the next day.

“We can't imagine every business process,” Tindall said, adding that resellers with vertical expertise should therefore turn their thoughts to business processes ripe for mobilisation and start to offer ideas – and nicely-sewn sleeves – to take Windows 8 devices into those businesses.

“I strongly encourage resellers to think about their own customer base in this different kind of way,” he said. “VARs who can pull this off will have a competitive advantage over those that can't.”

But Tindall's vision may not have found receptive ears, as a show of hands among the 100-odd delegates in attendance yielded just three that already conduct any application development for their clientele. Another query asking who among the audience plans to add such services saw just two hands reach skyward.

Nor did the audience appear particularly enthused at the suggestion from Todd Cione, Microsoft's chief marketing and operations officer for the Asia Pacific region, that Windows XP to Windows 8 migrations represent a grand opportunity. Questions from the floor asked why business would do so given many of their customers are yet to adopt Windows 7.

Cione also said he would “prefer it were not the case” that System Center Configuration Manager Service Pack 1, Microsoft's tool for mass Windows 8 deployment and management, is only in beta. Cione added the channel can expect “programs around SP1 of System Centre” before too much more time has passed.

He also said he expects Windows 8 – currently available in 50 form factors in Asia – will continue to find its way into new devices and therefore become relevant to more vertical markets.

That prompted a nervous question from a Windows Mobile 6.5 developer, who wondered if his niche remains viable. Cione responded gently, but left no doubt Microsoft wants the channel to get excited about making Windows 8 look its best, wherever it is needed. ®

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