Whitman: HP Sales Pipeline From IBM-Lenovo Server Deal On The Rise

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said the company’s enterprise server group is benefiting from IBM’s yet-to-be finalized sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo, and the sales pipeline is on the rise.

"We have got more than 600 reported wins over IBM in four months," said Whitman in an interview with CRN. "We are seeing more interest every single day. The pipeline is building dramatically.”

HP has moved aggressively to capture IBM x86 server share since IBM announced in January that it was selling its x86 server business to Lenovo in a $2.3 billion deal.
HP, for example, will host more than 70 priority IBM "win over" accounts at its Discover conference, June 10-12 in Las Vegas, according to HP Vice President of Strategic Growth and Business Development Chuck Smith.

[Related: CRN Exclusive Q&A: Whitman On Sales Gains Vs. IBM-Lenovo, Cisco And A Fractured VCE]

HP also is actively working with 100 IBM-focused partners to grow their business with HP, said Smith. What’s more, HP is working with distributors on the IBM opportunity.

One sign that the HP effort to target IBM x86 server business is working: data from market researcher IDC for the first quarter showing HP performing better than IBM in an x86 worldwide server market. IDC said that HP's x86 ProLiant revenue was relatively flat in the first quarter with a 0.4 percent year-over-year increase, while IBM's System x sales in the quarter declined 17.6 percent.

One top executive for a one-time IBM exclusive partner, who did not want to be identified, said the IBM Lenovo deal has created a "lot of consternation" among IBM customers.

"Eighty percent of the customers were very alarmed and 20 percent shrugged," he said. “Enterprise customers already had concerns about the  direction IBM was going in with the x86 business. HP is doing a good job taking IBM customers. HP has a really good story with an integrated stack, good management software, big R&D investments and the ability to service it all with one throat to choke. These are customers that can’t afford to fool around with multiple calls for support."

IBM commercial and federal customers are looking closely at buying HP servers in the wake of the yet-to-be-finalized IBM x86 server sale to Lenovo, said Kelly Ireland, CEO of  CB Technologies, a Westminster, Calif.-based Platinum HP Enterprise partner. "We are actively in discussions with many, many IBM customers that we couldn't get a conversation with before the Lenovo deal," she said.

NEXT: HP Targets IBM Lenovo x86 Opportunity

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