HP Plots Smartphone Channel Power Play

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Hewlett-Packard is building a new channel program that will bring its recently acquired Palm smartphone and smart device portfolio to market via solution providers, CRN has learned.

Stephen DiFranco, vice president and general manager, Solution Partners Organization (SPO), Americas, for HP, said in an interview with CRN Wednesday that he has asked Tom LaRocca, HP vice president, marketing and strategy, SPO, to build the new program in support of the computer giant's $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm, which was finalized this month. LaRocca oversees HP's PartnerOne channel program.

"Our intention is to bring a fully serviceable set of services to the consumer and commercial markets based on the Palm OS," DiFranco said. "Which apps are chosen and eventually deployed are the result of negotiations and conversations with the Palm team. I’m sure we will have consumer and commercial applications and to work with plug-ins. Palm, even before we acquired them, had a plug-in with Salesforce.com. We will continue down that road."

DiFranco said the Palm deal gives "resellers the opportunity to offer a franchise that includes mobile devices that are secure on the network." That's a powerful sales proposition for solution providers who are anxious to play in the smartphone market.

"To a reseller doing data center, I can have a practice with Palm devices from HP because that device can be managed and secured through the data center," said DiFranco. "One of our competitors in the phone business does a good job selling devices in corporate environments. But they’re not coming from a channel world. Now you have a company from the channel to have a device that has a smart enough OS to shut down if the device is lost or stolen. Now you can start to go out to customers with that."


Next: HP's Enterprise Group Aims To Play Big Role In Smart Device Market

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