Hewlett Packard channel partners who've been wondering about Leo Apotheker's leadership style had to be impressed when the HP CEO, in his first direct address to VARs, slammed Oracle for its decision last week to stop developing software for Intel's Itanium platform.
"From my perspective, it's a rather clumsy attempt by Oracle to try and prop up a failing and deteriorating Sun server business," Apotheker said at the outset of his Monday keynote speech at HP's Americas Partner Conference 2011 in Las Vegas. "It is an anticompetitive decision, it is self interested and it is to the endangerment of customers."
HP's Integrity Unix servers, NonStop servers, and OpenVMS servers are all based on Itanium. And because Oracle applications are the most common software run on HP's HP-UX Unix platform, Oracle dropping Itanium could put a significant dent in HP's business.
However, Apotheker quelled any uneasiness partners may have had when he revealed that HP has committed to at least ten years of future development and innovation on its HP-UX Unix platform and Itanium based servers.
"I want you to know that HP will do what we always do which is to put the best interest of the customer first," he said, triggering an extended round of applause from the roughly 2,000 partners in attendance.
Dean Cappellazzo, CEO of Bedrock Technology Partners, an HP partner based in San Mateo, Calif., said Apotheker's comments clear up a lot of the fear, uncertainty and doubt that was cast over HP's Itanium product line in the wake of the Oracle's decision.
"I loved it," said Cappellazzo of Apotheker's no holds barred commitment to continue Itanium development with Intel for 10 years. "Hearing Leo say the Itanium road map is set for 10 years puts partners at ease. That is going to help us convince end users that the technology road map for Itanium is stable and secure for years to come."
Harry Zarek, president and CEO of Compugen, a Richmond Hill, Ontario HP partner, praised Apotheker for standing up to the Oracle throwdown against Itanium. "I am very heartened by Leo's words," he said. "I would like Intel to make an even stronger statement about their support. We need a joint HP and Intel message on commitment to Itanium. HP should not be doing this on their own. Leo needs to get (Intel CEO) Paul Otellini out in front of this."
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