Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner, said that he is not ready to provide a definitive take on why the preliminary fourth-quarter server shipment numbers show a move toward HP, as he has yet to receive all the backup data.
However, Hewitt said, he can speculate.
"I can't dismiss the idea that there are cycles that everyone goes through," he said. "We seem to be at the start of a positive cycle to HP. I'd probably attribute it to the company's sales executives. HP has reorganized and changed its strategy. Last year, HP told analysts it will take a year to get its legs under itself, and then take a year to restructure, and then we will see performance."
Hewett said he could conjecture that, with HP internally stabilized, it is easier for the vendor's channel partners to talk to customers. "Partners can say, 'OK, things have settled down, now we can sell,'" he said.
It is impossible to ignore the potential impact of the pending sale of IBM's x86 server business to Lenovo, Hewitt said.
"There've been rumors for a long time," he said. "HP may have been able to take advantage of it. But I'm not sure. I'm just speculating."
Hewitt said Dell's move to go private could in theory also have had an impact on customers' buying decisions.
"So for the last quarter, you could argue that HP was the company with the least visible issues," he said.
An HP spokesperson said the company declined to comment on this story as it was based on preliminary sales numbers, while Dell and IBM declined to comment.
PUBLISHED JAN. 30, 2014