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By | Paul Kunert 6th June 2014 12:36

HP: Customers, partners are fleeing IBM x86 since Lenovo System x bid

Enterprise Group veep says it won 600 Big Blue spenders in 4 months

HP claims it has bagged hundreds of IBM x86 customers worldwide following Lenovo's $2.3bn bid for Big Blue's System x.

The Channel cannot verify whether this is linked to the pending sale of IBM's volume server business, or just par for the course in a competitive environment, but HP is keen to talk up the effects of the deal.

"From a worldwide perspective we have got more than 600 reported wins over IBM x86 in four months," Enterprise Group veep for the UK and Ireland Marc Waters told us.

He said HP will host 70 IBM customers it's trying to win over – chunky "targeted accounts where we want to take out IBM" – at the HP Discover event in Las Vegas next week, and is actively working with 100 IBM Business Partners to build a franchise with HP.

No names of partners or customers were shared, with confidentiality cited by HP as the reason. And the size of business won was not revealed either.

Waters added:

"Change or uncertainty creates concern and confusion, we are winning IBM clients that are now transacting with HP."

The longer Lenovo's proposed deal to gobble IBM's x86 business lingers in front of US regulators, the more the US giant opens itself up to customer-pilfering tactics from rivals.

That's according to Gartner following Big Blue and Lenovo's decision this week to resubmit their transaction for evaluation by Uncle Sam's Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) – amid heightened tension over security with China. Lenovo is a Chinese multinational with headquarters in Beijing, and North Carolina in the States.

Errol Rasit, research director at Gartner, said he expected rivals to heap on pressure during the deal – from speaking to customers or "optimising incentives" for channel types, "but these pressures are always there to some extent".

He said the server arena in Europe was challenging for all vendors, but warned IBM will "lean hard" on its non-x86 operation as it divests System x, and this will "potentially detract further on x86".

The CFIUS will look over the deal because IBM sells servers to a bunch of Chinese government departments including the military.

Firms in the Middle Kingdom, particularly Huawei, are still suspected of providing a peep hole for the Chinese government into US affairs, and similarly the Red Star regime's fears were further stoked by the NSA's global snooping.

Only last month the authorities in China were pondering whether to abandon Big Blue in the medium term. A Lenovo spokeswoman said the "efforts with IBM and the global regulatory bodies remain on track".

“Our timeline is still the same as it was at the announcement: following clearance and approvals, we expect the deal to close by the end of the year," she added.

Lenovo refused to talk about any regulatory processes "out of respect for the confidentiality of the proceedings”.

Big Blue's Intel-based server business hasn't posted top-line growth since Q1 2012 when it edged up 0.5 per cent, and declined more than 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.

IBM declined to comment. ®

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