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HP brands Surface distie deal a 'storm in a glass of water'

So what if we compete with own products and channel sellers

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An HP exec has branded the firm’s decision to sell Microsoft’s fondler in competition to its own portfolio as "a storm in a glass of water".

Both HP and Dell are set to peddle the Surface Pro 3 via their direct sales forces and online – a move some channel partners described as confusing and a cause of potential portfolio conflict.

Not so, said Thomas Jenson, HP veep of worldwide channel sales for the the printing and personal systems group – soon to be HP Inc. “I can see their [partners'] point but they don’t know the background to the decision,” he said.

“In Denmark, we say it’s storm in a glass of water – it’s a reaction to the unknown and generally no one likes change, but for me [HP selling Surface] is undramatic,” he added.

Channel execs yesterday told us they could be promoting HP’s Elite and Pro X2 range of tabs/detachables, while HP reps are hawking Microsoft’s device to the same customer.

Jenson said HP still prefers to lead with its products, but can’t expect to have “everything branded HP”, and is merely “responding” to customer demand for Surface devices that could come wrapped in HP services.

Sales of Microsoft’s Surface took years to take off, partly because the vendor sold the product direct, lost lots of money in doing so and then gradually opened up distribution. Last quarter, 1.5 million Surface devices were shipped to customers, up from one million in Q1.

The appointment of Dell and HP is designed to stymie the progress of the iPad in the corporate enterprise at a time when Apple is working with IBM and Cisco to improve adoption rates.

Last night, Apple finally dropped a 12.9-inch iPad Pro from the heavens, with a detachable keyboard and stylus pen sold separately. This is a nod that Redmond was right all along with its Surface design.

One analyst, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, agreed HP and Dell channel partners would be understandably upset that they’ll be competing with the PC titan's own wares. “This is an alternative global enterprise channel, obviously channel partners will be pissed,” the analyst told us.

Dell still hasn’t responded to our calls for comment.

Updated

An HP PC and print spokeswoman asked us to point out 80 per cent of its revenues are generated by channel partners, and she insisted HP will only sell direct to enterprises "where channel partners are not engaged".

"In cases where the HP direct sales team and an HP channel partner are engaged with the same account, HP will prioritise the channel," she added. ®

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