IBM Execs Try To Quell Partner Concerns Over x86 Sale


Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider and IBM partner ranked No. 173 on CRN's SP500 list, said he's waiting to hear from Lenovo to pass final judgment on the deal. "From a channel perspective, I'm anxious to hear about a product road map and how robust the Lenovo channel is," Pyle said. He said customers are already peppering him with questions about IBM x86 server maintenance and pricing post-Lenovo's acquisition.

"This isn't necessarily bad. Our business model is not built on adversity, but change gives us opportunity to make revenue where we might not otherwise. It's like [Microsoft] XP: Our customers know they have to make a change and they are not happy about it. But they know it's something they are going to have to do. For system integrators, this is an opportunity to make revenue. Because, face it, getting told the company you have been depending on for the past couple years is going to be owned by someone new is a crossroad to move them into a new solution," Pyle said. That solution may or may not be built on Lenovo technology, he said.

Pyle and other IBM partners tell CRN that while the deal reminds them of Lenovo's purchase of Big Blue's ThinkPad business, it's an apples-to-oranges comparison. Data center deals involving x86 servers are bigger, more complex, and come with a lot more on the line, Pyle said.

From Dupaquier's standpoint, last week's announcement goes a long way to reduce F.U.D. not create it: "The good news is we announce what we are doing. Frankly, it was of more concern to our customers before the announcement. Now it's clear what product lines will remain and what will be transferred."

PUBLISHED JAN. 29, 2014