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Dell's aggressive pricing has helped the company win market share, but more importantly Dell has been rolling up its sleeves right alongside partners helping close deals, said Michael Gavaghen, vice president of sales at SLPowers, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Dell partner.
"We've got a horse in this race," Gavaghen said. "And that means something when you have [corporate raider] Carl Icahn chipping away everyday at Dell's reputation," referring to Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell's contentious battle with Icahn over control of the Round Rock, Texas, company.
HP and IBM partners, for their part, said they are not concerned by the market share slide by the respective vendors.
"I don't care about [market share] percentage points," said Haggai Davis, director of sales at Gulf South Technologies Solutions, a Baton Rouge, La.-based solution provider that exclusively sells HP hardware. "Most of my customers don't know what brand servers they are using. They buy the Haggai brand. All they care about is, does it work and if it breaks can I fix it?"
Tom Hughes, director of alliances for Technology Solutions Group of Ciber, a Colorado Spring, Colo.-based IBM partner, said he believes Big Blue will win in the long run with a hybrid play helping companies manage their networks with IBM software, services and POWER and x86 System X- servers.
For companies only interested in server share bragging rights, the short game is selling commodity servers with razor-thin margins for pure play cloud-hosting solutions, said Hughes. More sustainable is building on-premise hybrid infrastructure solutions intelligent enough to handle business needs inside and outside the enterprise.
"If all you are doing is selling hardware for the cloud, you are missing a huge part of the market. System builders with cohesive hardware, software and service solutions have survivable business model," Hughes said.