HP PSG Chief: Partners Will Not Be Left Out Of Palm Plans

Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Systems Group Americas, says that partners will not be left out of the Palm smartphone business.

"Of course partners won't be left out of this," said DeWitt in an interview with ChannelWeb at the HP Americas conference regarding HP's $1.2 billion acquisition of smartphone maker Palm. "This is HP. HP is all about partnerships. It has defined us from the get-go and it will define us on a go-forward basis.

"As we look at the future of connected devices there is a tremendous opportunity for our partners in that mix. This sets the table for partner opportunity. How we mold that and shape that is the future ahead," he said.

DeWitt said the Palm acquisition is "a continuation of what HP has done for years, wrapping technology around the opportunity with our partners, enabling our partners to take it to the market. We are absolutely going to do that."

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Many solution provider partners have yet to strike a strong position in the smartphone market. Partners said the HP acquisition of Palm could be a flashpoint for them to break into the market.

Rick Chernick, the CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wisc., HP and Apple solution provider, said he is looking forward to selling the Palm since he is not authorized by Apple to carry the iPhone.

"Everything is going mobile," said Chernick. "HP has got to have it. This gives me a whole new market to sell into. Apple came out with the iPhone and the iPad, but they took it away from the reseller. HP gives me the (HP) Slate and the Palm products."

DeWitt told more than 1,000 partners at the HP Americas conference that HP has some "very bold plans" once the Palm acquisition receives regulatory approvals.

"We believe very strongly that the future is going to be about connected devices, whether you are talking about individual client devices, mobile devices, telephones, televisions, Slates and future unknown devices," said DeWitt. "The one thing that we do know is these devices are going to be connected. People are going to want to have a common experience. They are going to want to have the ability to move applications and have a fantastic user experience whether they are using a mobile computing device, a handset or any sort of client device."

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DeWitt said the Palm acquisition fills a critical gap for HP. "We are very excited about it because we know Palm," he said. "We know the Palm culture. We know the team at Palm. They are a very passionate organization. They want to win. They want to compete. Their passion with HP's scale and experience brings an impressive combination to the market."

"The Palm portfolio added to HP's portfolio gives us a unique offering in the market," he said. "It gives us a platform upon which we can innovate. That, from a partner perspective, opens up a tremendous amount of opportunities that we can realize over time."

DeWitt said HP is focused on building out the industry's best technology portfolio end to end - bar none - in both the consumer and commercial markets. "We think that is an exciting opportunity for our partners," he said. "We think that is something they can wrap businesses around, extend and drive their profitability."

DeWitt said HP is comfortable "being aggressive in the market. We are comfortable being an innovator. We are comfortable taking steps to fill portfolio gaps that we have. We are comfortable addressing areas where we have had challenges in the market where we have an opportunity to raise the bar. We are not afraid to take the risks and take bold steps in the market."

DeWitt said the Palm deal is not aimed at grabbing business from Apple. "We don't make decisions like this to target companies," he said. "We make decisions like this to round out the portfolio whether you are talking to a consumer, an SMB, or a large enterprise. This isn't about competitors. This is about HP's vision."