That was the first word to come to mind for Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider and Oracle partner, when word of Oracle's hiring of ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd as its new co-president rippled through the IT world.
But after some digestion, the move by Larry Ellison and Co. to sign on Hurd started to make perfect sense, Pyle said. Hurd left his post as HP's top executive last month amid a sexual harassment investigation that was ultimately unfounded. This week Oracle revealed that it hired Hurd, who is replacing outgoing Oracle President Charles Phillips.
With Hurd on board, solution providers expect Oracle to undergo the once unfathomable metamorphosis from fickle channel antagonist to a channel force to be reckoned with that will use its newly hired channel muscle to put the heat on competitors.
"In his time with HP they really wanted the channel to succeed and [Hurd] was a channel advocate," Pyle said, adding that Oracle could use a channel injection, especially now that Sun's hardware offerings have been added to the mix and partners are finding their feet with the major merger.
Bob Venero, CEO, of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider, said that along with the channel boost, Hurd brings a competitive spirit that will help Oracle tackle some of its largest foes. Future Tech sits in a unique seat with Hurd's hiring, as it is both an HP and Oracle partner.
"Oracle's channel strategy up until now has been convoluted," said Venero. "Mark is absolutely going to bring vision and direction to that channel strategy. The channel is in Mark's DNA. I see Oracle moving from a convoluted channel to a highly-focused channel machine that leverages the channel to grow in both the channel and in customer penetration."
And for Future Tech, having the channel in Hurd's crosshairs will mean more Oracle business for Future Tech, Venero said.
"We're a midsize Oracle VAR, soon to be a major Oracle VAR. When we made our announcement this morning to the entire Future Tech about Mark Hurd going to Oracle, part of our message to our entire corporation is, Future Tech will become a stronger partner of Oracle," Venero said.
John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing for Denali Advanced Integration, Redmond, Wash., agreed.
"My first reaction was, I'm pleased to see a leader of his caliber go to Oracle," he said. "I'm happy for him personally and for him professionally. And I'd not be surprised when Denali and others get the call from him to see what he needs from the channel."
"From the Oracle side, it has to be an exciting time for the channel," Convery continued. "Mark Hurd is a believer in the channel. It's in his DNA. Oracle has had issues with the channel, not unlike HP had in the past."
Next: Hurd's Hands-On Channel Approach