Cisco Partner Summit: Bold Visions, No Mention Of HP

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"Write the rules. Own the game," was the message for Cisco partners on Tuesday, day one of Cisco's annual Partner Summit in San Francisco.

If you were a Cisco partner coming to hear about Cisco's market vision and a raft of new services opportunities, you came away inspired -- Cisco announced a number of new services and certifications opportunities its executives say will drive bigger and better deals for partners.

But if you came away hoping for a fresh round of competitive sabre rattling against Cisco rival HP, you were disappointed. While Cisco's 2009 Partner Summit in Boston essentially saw the networking titan declare war on its new rival, HP wasn't mentioned by name once during the morning keynotes Tuesday from Cisco's top channel executives.

"We know you had a choice," said Keith Goodwin, Cisco's senior vice president of worldwide channels, in his sole allusion to HP's Americas Partner Conference, also happening this week. "You obviously made the right choice. We thank you personally for your investment and ongoing loyalty to Cisco."

Goodwin and other top Cisco channel brass unveiled a number of new promotions and services opportunities during their opening session. They also directly addressed a number of problems in the Cisco channel that according to Goodwin had come up on numerous occasions in his discussions with Cisco partners.

Chief among those, Goodwin said, was Cisco's ongoing supply chain woes, through which product backorders and supply chain stop-up had earned Cisco plenty of partner frustration in the past year. Goodwin apologized for the "impact it's having on business," and deferred to Randy Pond, executive vice president of operations, processes and systems, who blamed components shortages, a shift in the Chinese labor force thanks to China's economic stimulus, and, most of all, the sheer magnitude of the business drop-off during 2009.

From there, Goodwin set about describing how Cisco would seek to "write the rules" -- not an arrogant vision, he said, but a bold one.

"It's about us writing the rules together around the significant market transitions happening as we speak," he said.

Those major market transitions, Goodwin explained, include collaboration, video, the virtualized data center and cloud services. He alluded to Cisco's entering the voice market a decade ago, and after being met with initial criticism that it was too new and unfamiliar a market to Cisco, proceeded to conquer it and gain the No. 1 worldwide market share in the space.

Next: Network At The Center

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