With security threats like WannaCry ransomware dominating the news, HP's no holds barred security innovation is providing the company with a major competitive advantage, said Weisler. "We have seen in the news in the last few weeks the damage that is caused by not having up-to-date hardware," he said. "We have the best defense possible in PCs – below the operating system, at the operating system, and above the operating system. We mirror that inside our printing platform as well."
HP Americas President Christoph Schell told CRN that HP's highest tier platinum-level partners were strong performers in the quarter. He said overall they are delivering sales growth 3 percent above the high sales targets set by HP. "That is huge," he said. "These programs are not designed to be met."
Schell said he sees partners in the current quarter taking an aggressive posture with HP's just-released A3 copier replacement product. That A3 portfolio, which began shipping last month, is aimed at displacing copier giants Xerox and Ricoh with a highly disruptive product line. "This coming quarter is really all about A3 and making sure we scale that product," he said. "There are some great opportunities in the pipeline."
HP partners, for their part, said HP's innovation in both PCs and printers is paying off in strong sales growth.
Harry Zarek, CEO of Compugen, one of HP's top partners and No. 67 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, said HP is winning the "hearts and minds" of customers with a stellar product portfolio. Compugen is seeing strong double-digit sales growth in its HP business, he said.
The security innovation and device-as-a-service momentum have positioned HP well for the future, said Zarek. With WannaCry and other threats, HP has "carved out a unique" position with its security innovation in both printers and PCs, he said.
"This is the first time I have ever heard any OEM focus on how they can make PCs more secure," he said. "The ransomware that has been happening in the last few weeks really emphasizes the importance of making sure PCs and printers are secure. HP has a strong sensibility around what customers are looking for."
Zarek said he is excited to see HP's "success" in the printer market especially as the A3 portfolio hits the market. "We are looking forward to adding HP as part of our A3 portfolio," he said.
Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 167 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, said the HP 10 percent sales growth in the personal systems business proves that the "PC market is not dead."
"The PC is alive and kicking," said Venero. "That pane of glass on the PC that gives workers access to all of the tools and solutions needed to operate is more important than it has ever been. The PC will never die."
Venero said he just met with a top customer recently who was looking at PC as mere overhead, but when Future Tech mapped out all of the critical tools and support systems that the PC was providing the business the customer quickly changed their view.
"At the end of the day it runs up to a single pane of glass which is a PC or a notebook," Venero said. "We applaud HP's growth. Our HP business is very strong. They are doing a good job focusing on the customer and providing innovative products."