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Greg Davis, vice president of global commercial channels at Dell, said in a statement emailed to CRN that Dell’s strategy of providing a full range of products including PCs makes the company a strong partner to the channel.
“We continue to believe that there is real value in providing end-to-end solutions from the device to the data center," wrote Davis. "HP’s proposed actions are in contrast to Dell’s strategy to remain strongly committed to the PC business. We’ve proven that we’re a stable business partner for the channel and our message to our partners is, that won’t change – the PC business is strategic to Dell and we’ll be a consistent partner to them in the coming years.”
Analyst firm Gartner in July reported that HP was the No. 1 PC vendor both worldwide and in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2011, followed by Dell at No. 2 in both cases, in terms of units shipped. However, Dell's worldwide PC sales during the second quarter grew 3.3 percent over the second quarter of 2011, compared to HP's growth rate of 3.0 percent. But for the U.S. market, both companies saw shipments fall, with Dell's shipments in the U.S. dropping 9.8 percent compared to only a 1.2 percent drop for HP.
One HP SMB partner, who did not want to be identified, said he was disappointed after listening to HP's executives answer questions from partners. "There was nothing conclusive," he said. "The uncertainty out there is what hurts you. It is like going into a cave and not knowing what is coming. I think they are going to sell the PC business."
The partner said he believes HP has underestimated the importance of having a broad product portfolio from the desktop to the data center. "Customers like one throat to choke. They like buying desktops, servers, printers and software all from one company. The fear factor right now is everybody in the channel is starting to think this is strictly going to be a software company. I think this is going to affect server and SAN sales because customers don't know what HP is going to do."
Kevin McLaughlin and Joseph F. Kovar contributed to this story