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Fred Moore, managing partner at Moore Computing, a St. Louis-based HP SMB partner who's typical customer has about 40 users on a network, said HP SMB IT in a Box could be a tough sell to small businesses.
"We don't see a lot of adoption toward Google Apps, although we are seeing some Office 365," Moore said. "But about 100 percent of my clients still have Microsoft Office installed."
The biggest problem with HP SMB IT in a Box is the difficulty in getting small businesses to consider changing a very basic component of their IT infrastructures, Moore said.
"I'm not sure small businesses want to tear out what they already have to go with a new thing like Google Apps," he said. "And no one will want to switch a few users to Google Apps and then have to support both."
It will also be interesting to see whether HP can execute on this new bundle, Moore said.
"It's a big initiative to convince resellers," he said. "Most are like me, entrenched in Microsoft for years. We've invested in Microsoft's technology for years."
Another big issue will be how channel-friendly the new HP SMB IT in a Box will be, Moore said.
"Once someone becomes a Google customer, they're a Google customer," he said. "It's the same thing with Microsoft 365. Google and Microsoft are the ones controlling the billing relationships and the SLAs [service-level agreements]."
Larry Velez, CTO and founder of Sinu, a New York-based MSP partnering with both Google and Microsoft, said the HP-Google news makes for a very interesting new market dynamic.
"By giving a partner like HP the opportunity to resell Google Apps, Google gets an entry to the business market without the need to sell customers on a one-to-one basis," Velez said. "Right now, to get a university or large business to use Google Apps, Google flies people in to see the customer. That's very expensive. Makes for good PR wins. But, Google needs a way to scale."
That way to scale comes with HP, Velez said.
"If there's one thing HP does well, it's creating an army or resellers," he said. "HP knows how to build a channel. Google knows how to market to consumers and how to sign up very small businesses. But a lot of businesses don't buy off a website. They need their hands held."