- In January 2009, Cisco announced that it would enter the server market.
- Immediately after, HP announced that it would manufacture data switches for the datacenter market.
- Last fall, HP said it would acquire 3Com.
- Cisco said it would drop HP as a reseller.
- HP said it would work with QLogic, a Cisco competitor.
You can expect bad blood and suspicion when partners walk into each other's turf. Not only do they resent losing customers, but they mistrust each other's motives. For example, analyst firm Ovum said in a release that Cisco "does not want to provide HP with roadmap information on competing 'innovative' products," like Cisco's UCS system, that resellers normally get.
Then there is the changing nature of computing that will favor network-centric views.
The important point is that this isn't only about Cisco and HP. Industry pressures will set a number of companies against traditional partners, because it's a symptom of the times. And those times are a-changing. I expect that savvier IT departments will exploit this, playing former business partner vendors against each other to drive product prices down even further.
Image via stock.xchng user dr-chong, site standard license.