The HP-Microsoft partnership and what it means to Cisco

A lot of people may be wondering what the latest HP/ Microsoft deal may mean to Cisco Systems going forward.

Yesterday, Microsoft and HP furthered its 25-year plus relationship by announcing a three-year agreement to invest US$250 million in incremental dollars as HP CEO Mark Hurd put it to significantly simplify technology environments for businesses of all sizes.

This will mean more pre-packaged and tested solutions from the two powerhouse vendors to be built on a next-generation infrastructure-to-application model, more cloud and private cloud applications, and they will be use using 11,000 employees to try and cut out IT complexity and make everything they sell as plug and play as possible.

I don’t want to make light of the announcement. I do agree with Hurd that any time both high-profile CEO take the stage it is more than your run of the mill press release.

However, don’t think that John Chambers and Rob Lloyd over at Cisco are huddled up in a corner shivering with fear over the prospect of a more integrated HP and Microsoft.

This has been the case as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put it for the past 25 years. This, to me, looks to be business as usual for Cisco when they examine their competitors.

The nastiness that transpired in 2009 when Cisco launched Unified Computing Systems and basically dropped HP as a key integration partner I think is still there. But, I also believe that Cisco knows full well what they are up against in the market place. I’m not saying Cisco’s leadership treated yesterday’s announcement as just another press release, but I also think they took it in stride.

Let’s face some facts HP is entirely self sufficient now that they have 3Com, this Microsoft strategic partnership and don’t forget ProCurve. They do not need Cisco, but Cisco doesn’t need them either. Sure they would love to have a top quality worldwide integrator like HP on board. But they don't and customers for the most part if they wanted a Cisco Unified Communications solution they could get one from another top channel partner.

So don’t look for Cisco to make a knee-jerk reactionary move any time soon because of yesterday’s announcement. I think they will continue furthering the Unified Computing System strategy and build more influence in the channel with this platform.

As for HP, yesterday was a great day for them. With the help of Microsoft they are going to make it easier for channel partners to sell more virtualization and unified communication solutions and that means more blades and more storage equipment, which is something HP makes a lot of.

One quick hit before I go. Bill St. Arnaud will be leaving his post as Chief Research Officer of Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network (CANARIE) after 15 years on the job.

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