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Dell To 'Respond Directly To Partners' In Uproar Over Microsoft Surface Pro Direct Deal

Solution providers with questions or concerns about Dell's decision to resell the Microsoft Surface Pro will soon get some answers straight from Dell, the company said.

Solution providers with questions or concerns about Dell's decision to resell the Microsoft Surface Pro will soon get some answers straight from Dell.

"We're going to respond directly to partners on that," Frank Vitagliano, Dell vice president of global partner strategy and programs, told CRN on Wednesday.

Dell and Hewlett-Packard solution providers are up in arms over a deal that turns the two vendors into Microsoft Surface Pro device resellers, putting them in direct competition with the channel.

[Related: HP VP: Deal For HP To Resell Microsoft Surface Pro Is Not Slap In Face To Channel]

Dell CEO Michael Dell on Tuesday touted Dell's decision to start selling the Surface Pro and Surface Pro accessories in a video featured on a Microsoft blog post.

The Dell Surface Pro direct sales initiative will begin in the United States in October with Dell rolling it out globally in 2016.

Dell also plans to sell the Surface Pro through its direct sales force and on its Dell.com/work direct sales business website along with Dell services including Dell Hardware Warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.

A top executive for a West Coast Dell and HP partner, who did not want to be identified, said he expects both Dell and HP to take steps to address channel concerns.

The channel is far too important for HP, and has become too important to Dell, for either vendor to risk seriously souring those relationships, he said.

"Dell is committed to the channel. HP is a channel company," he said. "It's not perfect, there are challenges, but both companies have invested fortunes in channel programs. They're not going to throw that into the toilet."

Hewlett-Packard Vice President Mike Nash told CRN on Tuesday that the deal is simply an option for the HP direct sales force and is not meant as a slight to channel partners.

"We love our channel. Our channel is critical to our business," Nash told CRN. "Frankly, selling HP devices, obviously, is the core of our strategy. The fact that we are making this additional offering available should not distract from that. It only makes us more customer-centric."

Steve Burke contributed to this story.

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