Cisco drops HP as certified reseller, service partner

But Cisco will honor existing HP service contracts

Cisco Systems Inc. today said it will not renew its systems integrator contract with Hewlett-Packard Co., meaning HP it will no longer be a certified reseller or service partner after April 30.

Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, said in a webcast that the changing IT landscape, the evolving role of the network and his company's competition with system vendors means it can no longer share partner benefits with HP.

"We're taking this action to be transparent to both partners and customers. We will compete with HP for future business," Goodwin said.

HP also announced today that it has expanded a storage switch reseller contract with QLogic Corp., a product area typically filled by Cisco.

Cisco recently started competing with systems vendors like HP by coming out with its own blade server offering.

In the webcast, Goodwin took a swipe at HP, saying the company no longer "aligns" with its "network-centric vision." Eighty percent of Cisco's business is done through channel reseller partners, and 12,000 of those are certified partners -- meaning their products have been pretested to work with Cisco equipment.

"We continuously evaluate our partner relationships. As the role of the network continues to grow, it is creating new opportunities for Cisco and our partners but it's also changing the dynamics of the industry," he said. "Over the last few years, our relationship with HP has evolved from a partner to companies with different and conflicting visions of how to deliver value to our customers."

Because of its more adversarial relationship with HP, Goodwin said Cisco no longer feels comfortable sharing proprietary information such as product road maps and reseller initiatives with HP. "We've already reached out to HP to begin the discussion around a new agreement that ensures business continuity for existing customers, but better reflects the current state of our relationship," he said.

Cisco will continue to honor its current customer service contracts with HP until they expire, and Goodwin said the company will continue to work with HP where customers "expect it and where it makes sense for our business."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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