HP PSG rivals Fujitsu TS and Dell manoeuvre for VAR business

Rivals to the threatened PSG PC business are jostling for position in the wake of the uncertainty created by HP's decision to explore a sale or spin-off of the unit.

Rivals to the threatened PSG PC business are jostling for position in the wake of the uncertainty created by HP's decision to explore a sale or spin-off of the unit.

Dell and Fujitsu Technology Solutions (TS) have been quick to stick their flags in the ground, with both rivals claiming to see growing numbers of HP VARs looking to jump ship entirely, or at the very least add a new vendor to their portfolios.

Fujitsu said that a number of partners had been talking to it since the news broke in August, and although UK managing director Michael Keegan said the volume of interest was partly down to a massive ramp-up of investment in its UK hardware business, a good deal of them were now saying they were wary of HP.

"Very few players are left that are wholly committed to the channel as a means of distribution, and the announcement from HP has caused a lot of fear and doubt around [its] commitment to the channel, particularly at the enterprise end of the business," he told MicroScope.

Keegan said that HP's announcement had been hugely disruptive for businesses in the midst of a desktop refresh - still in full swing with the recent launch of Windows 7 - but emphasised that the refresh still needed to happen regardless.

"Customers will just go to other places, and we fully intend to take advantage of that," he said.

"We have doubled the number of people dealing with channel partners from 25 to 50, and are doubling our marketing spend," added Keegan, who said he was looking to make year-on-year growth of 50% in the UK.

Meanwhile, Dell EMEA head of channel programmes and marketing, Kathy Schneider, said the company was increasingly coming to be seen as a trusted vendor by the channel, in spite of past differences.

"Dell remains a stable partner that is strongly committed to the PC business. We continue to believe that business client solutions are critically important to our customers and that there is real value in providing end-to-end solutions," she said.

Schneider claimed that Dell was in fact seeing higher margins on business clients this year than previously, and talked up other elements of the vendor's portfolio.

"Force10 technology is a natural complement to Dell's existing strategy and enables a strong solution alignment with Dell's server, storage and systems management portfolio [and] in the x86 space Dell is positioned as the only company with a complete x86 portfolio," she added.

For its part, HP is continuing to bang the drum for the PSG business, with unit boss Todd Bradley this week vowing to remain at the helm whatever the outcome of HP's strategic review.

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