HP Networking is extending the value partners deliver and customers receive with its networking products by extending 24/7 technical support for up to three years for many of its wireless, switching, application acceleration and small business products.
The new HP Lifetime Warranty 2.0 is an extension of the existing program and includes next-business-day hardware and component replacement, software upgrades and technical support for the lifetime of the product, or until the product is taken out of service or discontinued.
“Organizations are spending millions on support to keep their network operating,” said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of Networking at HP. “Our Lifetime Warranty 2.0 is part of our strategy to improve the economics for customers — offering them peace of mind with 24/7 support, while lowering operational costs.”
Lifetime Warranty 2.0 is free for buyers of HP FlexCampus, HP FlexBranch and many small business networking products. Customers can purchase proactive maintenance and support services, such as HP Proactive Care that helps prevent network downtime and HP design, validate and deploy services that help customers implement the right solutions.
HP says the extended warranty program will benefit channel partners by enabling them to deliver more value at no additional cost to the customer. This added value, HP believes, will make HP products more competitive and help solution providers sell more units.
HP is doing what it can to bolster its networking business, which is a distant second to Cisco Systems Inc. in market share, amid rising competition. Cisco is touting the “Internet of Everything” as the next catalyst of networking equipment sales. Others, including Dell and Juniper Networks Inc., are looking to make networking a core part of next-generation cloud and infrastructure deals. HP understandably wants to differentiate by offering support services that, in theory, shouldn’t consume too many resources assuming the production and fielding of high quality equipment.
While HP’s warranty and support services look like a good value-add, there’s plenty of skepticism among solution providers. Design and implementation services, technical support, and remote monitoring and management are staples of the solution-provider profitability framework. Free and extended support directly to customers has the potential of undercutting channel services opportunities.
HP is approaching the second anniversary of its 2011 meltdown, in which the entire company was destabilized by a failed launch into the tablet market, the beginnings of a massive shift into software through the $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy and the ultimate firing of its then-CEO Leo Apotheker. While HP continues to struggle, it is showing signs of recovery under CEO Meg Whitman.
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