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HP APC: Leo's here, how'd he do?

LAS VEGAS–Hewlett-Packard VARs have had their knickers in a twist since the unceremonious departure of HP CEO Mark Hurd in August and the subsequent hiring of Leo Apotheker as CEO a few months later.

It didn’t help this notoriously restive bunch that Apotheker took quite some time to approach them and when he did it was via a canned video. Say what you will about Hurd, but he reached out to the channel and was almost ridiculously accessible. Not true with the new regime.

So there was quite a bit of anticipation when Apotheker took the stage here in front of 1000-plus partners. And, by most accounts, he said all the right things. That he’s 100% committed to the channel. that the channel will have a role in his grand, if still somewhat fuzzy, cloud vision.

Reaction to Apotheker is pretty tightly linked to a given VAR’s take on Hurd. Many were glad when the new guy signaled early on that he would not continue the draconian cuts initiated by Hurd that were–to be fair–probably necessary to get HP down to fighting weight.

Glen Jodoin, VP of marketing and operations for GreenPages Technology Solutions, was pleased with what he saw from Apotheker.

“I was impressed with the keynote. HP has always been committed to the channel and I fully expect that to [continue]. Leo is a compelling speaker and offered a good vision as to how the HP portfolio plays to the cloud and his vision as to both the current and future HP. It is a big and welcome difference from Hurd.”

Others, including one long-time HP VAR was having none of it. His concern is that Apotheker came from SAP, not known for its channel love. And that both Apotheker and HP board chairman Ray Lane appear to have an animus towards Oracle. If HP starts down the “kill Oracle” path, competing with the Oracle direct-sales monster could mean much unpleasantness ahead.

Noting that Apotheker was “severed” from SAP before HP came knocking, this VAR was incredulous. “Look,” he said. “The HP CEO slot is probably the most important job in IT. And they gave it to an unemployed guy!”

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at

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