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"We are spending a lot of time with people to regain their confidence and show our commitment," said Bradley. "I think our entire product lineup from printers to workstations to PCs to tablets as we get into the fall is going to show how committed we are to the space, how committed HP is to our business, and yeah, I think there is still some work we need to do to regain their confidence. That is why we are charging down this path. We have never done anything like this. This is a pretty significant commitment for us."
HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group (PPS) is planning a 20-city U.S. road show starting next month, inviting partners and their customers to see first-hand the benefits of the tablet and HP's full PPS product portfolio, said Bradley.
HP's all out focus on the channel is a big differentiator against both Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Surface Tablet product line, Bradley said. "From a competitive standpoint, we are showing a bigger commitment than any of them," he said.
Apple has been mounting an aggressive campaign to recruit channel partners to integrate Apple's iPad into businesses. Microsoft, meanwhile, has yet to let partners sell its new Surface Tablet.
"The product that we have developed, the serviceability of it, the ability for partners to make money with us on this tablet are just significant," said Bradley. "Compared to any of the other people in the marketplace, no one has a better focus on the enterprise than HP. The combination of an HP Windows 8 tablet gives enterprises the security that they want for their behind-the-firewall applications."
When asked what will be key differentiators vs. Apple, Bradley said serviceability, security, Windows 8 and easy access to current business applications all offer big improvements relative to the iPad.
As for the battle with Microsoft Surface, Bradley stressed that the biggest differentiator against Microsoft is HP is leveraging it strong partner base. "First and foremost, we are focused on selling our product through the channel," said Bradley. "I think the message from Microsoft was: 'If you want to sell Surface, come to a store and buy one.'"
HP's channel focus puts the company well ahead of both Microsoft and Apple in bringing a tablet to business customers, said Mont Phelps, CEO of NWN, a national enterprise HP partner headquartered in Waltham, Mass.
"It is obvious to anybody that knows anything about the channel that neither Apple nor Microsoft has the channel that HP has," said Phelps. "That is going to be a tremendous advantage bringing a product like this to the market.
"I have seen people trying to force the iPad into business applications and business usage," said Phelps. "It just doesn't fit perfectly in business so there are compromises. What HP has is a business-ready tablet. If that is what they are saying, bring it on. Now we have something to go out and offer the marketplace. We have been looking for this for quite a while."