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HP and 3Com VARs on Monday applauded HP's boldness in challenging Cisco with a 3Com-strengthened networking portfolio. But they also warned that the escalating rivalry between the two tech titans would continue to squeeze VARs that work with both vendors.
For 3Com VARs, the news was a long-overdue motivator. As a longtime 3Com solution provider, Glenn Conley, president and CEO of Metropark Communications, St. Louis, Mo., said he was "excited as all get out."
"If I can take the size and strength of HP and the ingenuity and cool products of 3Com and meld them together, then put a bull's eye on the biggest kid on the block, I'm saying yeah, it's a pretty exciting time," Conley said.
At the time HP announced the acquisition, last November, solution providers were concerned that HP would ignore hidden gems -- such as 3Com's voice portfolio -- during integration.
But HP executives confirmed during a presentation Monday that the entire 3Com portfolio would be preserved, and that both 3Com and ProCurve would become part of the new HP Networking group.
Conley said he hadn't yet heard much about how HP will transition 3Com VARs into its current programs and certifications; he and other 3Com VARs said they've been told June 1 is the HP-set deadline for details.
But he said HP was right to take its time.
"A lot of the 3Com-ers are just anxious to get into battle," Conley said. "They've been sitting on the sidelines now for a long time. Whatever [HP's] slowness is, they want to do right by the dealers."
Another big advantage for 3Com VARs, Conley said, is the possibility of expanding their practices to include other pieces of the HP portfolio.
"3Com always made several plays at having us take bigger bites of the apple, but they didn't give us the tools or the resources or the assistance to do that. If you were a data house, that's what you sold. If you were a phone company, you sold that," he explained. "If HP does it right, and they do offer the ability to take a bigger bite, well, Metropark and a lot of other dealers would like that."