Microsoft-HP target Asian SMBs with cloud

Duo's new extended partnership to bundle products will target small and midsize businesses and 7,600 joint channel partners in region, say execs.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor
A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard's latest announcement to bundle their products will target SMBs (small and midsize businesses) and the duo's 7,600 joint channel partners in the Asia-Pacific region, company executives said.

The two industry giants announced a global three-year, US$250 million deal to jointly bundle products for small businesses, as well offer a data warehouse product later this year. The partnership brings in Microsoft's cloud platform, Azure, and HP's services arm, on top of the existing association between Microsoft's server software and HP's hardware offerings.

Overall, the deal is aimed at providing the foundation for a joint go-to-market strategy to capture the growing enterprise interest in cloud computing, according to the two partners.

Zane Adam, Microsoft's general manager of virtualization and systems center, said in a conference call Thursday with reporters from the region, the agreement is the "deepest partnership across the gamut for HP and Microsoft", over the last 25 years of their relationship, which will now span "from storage all the way to the cloud".

In the same media call, Jeff Carlat, HP's partner and platform software director, said the deal also represents a 10-fold increase in channel investment, which will go toward marketing and incentives for partners to offer upgrades to their customers. Channel partners will also get "flexible financing options", although Carlat declined to specify what this would entail for the region.

He added that there are 32,000 joint partners worldwide selling HP and Microsoft products, with 7,600 of those in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. 320 of those are in Singapore, he added.

Microsoft's Singapore general manager, Michel Gambier, later said in a phone interview with ZDNet Asia: "With SMBs, especially, looking to the cloud, we expect strong demand [for the bundled offerings]."

He noted that the bundles are expected to allow partners to offer server products for both on-premise and cloud deployments.

"We believe [enterprises] will integrate cloud and on-premise [deployments], and that it will be a combination of both," he said.

There also lies additional opportunity in Asian's hosting market, which is expected to grow and upgrade its infrastructure alongside the region's appetite for Internet connectivity, he added.

Microsoft's Zane said the company, along with HP, will likely roll out "most" offerings on the roadmap simultaneously across the globe.

Earlier this week, a Symantec data center study revealed some 40 percent of businesses in the Asia-Pacific region expect to make "significant changes" to their data centers this year, in particular with cloud computing and server virtualization technologies.

Clarification: Due to a choppy phone connection, the figures misstated the number of joint partners in the region. The correct numbers should be 32,000 globally, with 7,600 in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. The story has been updated to reflect this.

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