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Whitman said the HP SMB IT in a Box is aimed at simplifying SMB IT environments so SMB businesses can "focus on what really matters to them: their customers and their business."
"What this venture is designed to do is to help simplify the customers' IT environment, reduce their operating cost and their infrastructure and network requirements, while improving their workflows and productivity," she said.
HP executives said they see the deal as a moneymaker for HP SMB-focused partners. "What we are doing is actually equipping the channel partners with a bunch of tools -- most importantly consoles that will allow them to manage the IT for their customers," said Sumeer Chandra, vice president of strategy and business management for HP's consumer PC business. "The way we are engineering this is making sure that resellers have a very important role to play in terms of provisioning and managing customers' applications and devices."
Chandra said he sees future services additions to SMB IT in a Box as "a combination of what a channel partner provides plus HP providing some basic" infrastructure services. "IT management is going to be a pretty big part of it," added Chandra, speaking about the future of the SMB IT in a Box platform. "Security, productivity and collaboration."
HP Senior Vice President and General Manager of Printing Personal Systems Consumer PC and Solutions Ron Coughlin stressed that the deal is not targeted at Microsoft. "This is not competing against an existing offer," he said. "This is a pain point. SMBs don't want to manage their IT, and we are meeting an unmet need in the marketplace. We know this is a big idea when you combine all of it. When you get to offering all this, componentry as a service is where we think we have magic. We are still going to do a lot of business with Microsoft. This isn’t a versus Microsoft [announcement], and a lot of these devices that get sold in are going to be running Windows 8. This isn't aimed at Microsoft. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to take a holistic view to the SMB."
Ultimately, Coughlin said, SMB IT in a Box will allow partners to be more successful in the SMB market with an offering that is much more "sticky."