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HP’s Poly Buy Gives Solution Providers Reason To Cheer

Shane Snider

News that the Palo Alto, Calif. PC giant would make a huge investment in Poly’s video conferencing expertise sent positive shockwaves through a reseller community hungry to fill the demand for remote work needs.

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Channel partners were excited with the news that HP Inc. would spend $3.3 billion scooping up video conferencing player Poly, with many saying it will help them meet skyrocketing demand for hybrid work solutions.

Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, said his Green Bay, Wisc. company is seeing a groundswell of demand for hybrid work technology solutions. Formerly known as Plantronics, Poly’s hardware will be helpful as HP looks to gain a foothold in an area dominated by brands like Microsoft and Logitech.

“For us, it’s a big play,” said Chernick (pictured above). “Hopefully, it will give us better pricing and better availability on the Poly products. Poly is a leader in video conferencing solutions, cameras, headsets, voice and software… AV is huge for us.”

Peripherals represent a $110 billion market that’s swelling at a 9 percent annual growth rate, HP said.

One area where Chernick sees an opportunity for Poly to gain the most from the HP relationship is its channel program. “I don’t think they have a lot of great channel programs, to be honest,” he said of Poly. “From my perspective, this can only help. We just were not able to get the same support that we can from HP. I cannot see this being a negative for us at all.”

Chernick thinks one part of the discussion that may be missing is the education component of video conferencing. “Schools are starting to look for some sort of cloud service with a Poly-type video system since the pandemic. So I see a lot of potential there as well.”

Richmond Hill, Ontario-based Compugen Inc. is also seeing big gains in video conferencing demand. “I think it’s an excellent move,” said Harry Zarek, Compugen’s president and founder. “It was very shrewd of HP. They are realizing that video and accessories are critical for a successful hybrid environment. It’s an opportunity to bring the benefits of HP’s channel relationships to Poly. Both are great vendors. I know we’re really excited to work with them together and see what happens.”

For its part, HP says it can build up Poly’s supply chain weakness with its own supply relationships. HP expects to see up to $500 million in sales from the alliance by 2025. The Poly acquisition will add to HP’s existing peripheral lineup, which includes HyperX, a gaming headset company HP bought from Kingston Technology for $425 million in cash. It’s clear HP wants to build up its hybrid offerings quickly.

Luis Alvarez, president of Alverez Technology Group in Salinas, Calif., said the combination of HP’s channel prowess and Poly’s hybrid work solution offerings could lead to new opportunities for growth – down the road.

“Most acquisitions don’t have a direct impact right away,” he said. “I suspect that will be the case here. What resellers need to concern themselves with is: What does this mean for the channel program? What does it mean for the channel relationship? It’s a smart move on HP’s part. Poly has a lot of solutions that align themselves well with HP’s technology. HP is competing against names like Microsoft. They needed to get something in place to help them compete against peers in this space where they didn’t have much of a presence.”

Alvarez said as a Poly partner, he’s been happy with their channel service, but “HP has been very channel-friendly for years and that can only help. We’ll see how this benefits our relationship with Poly.”

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Shane Snider

Shane Snider is a senior associate editor covering personal computing, mobile devices, semiconductor news, hardware reviews, breaking news and live events. Shane is a veteran journalist, having worked for newspapers in upstate New York and North Carolina. He can be reached at ssnider@thechannelcompany.com.

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