2014
02.11

Remember when HP announced that they were considering selling their PC division? They felt the market was weak and they should focus more on servers & storage. That killed PC sales for HP, ensure Lenovo was the number one choice in business, and fired yet another HP CEO. Eventually the non-decision was reversed but at what we can only guess was a huge cost.

Meg Whitman, the current CEO, seems determined to kill off HP’s enterprise business completely. If you follow me on Twitter then you would have read a tweet I sent out on Feb 7th (while on vacation):

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HP formally announced (we read rumours over a month ago) that they would be restricting access to firmware updates. You would need to maintain an active support contract on your hardware (a la Cisco) to have the right to download firmware for your servers and storage.

Huh!?!? Sure, HP, this firmware is your “intellectual property” as you asserted in the announcement. But I’m sure that people who bought the hardware with 3 years support expect, you know, support for 3 years. With new Linux variants out every few months, vSphere updated annually, and Windows versions appearing every 12-18 months, we kind of need those firmware updates for a stable platform. If HP doesn’t want to offer me stability, then why the hell would I consider using their out-of-date hardware? Seriously?!?!

It appears that Mary McCoy of HP felt like she needed to defend the boneheaded decision. There is no defence. This is about as stupid as changing the licensing of a virtualization product to be based on maximum VM RAM – and we saw how quickly that course got reversed.

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HP is truly a Blackberry in the making, but just bigger. Ineptitude is the central quality you need to sit on the board or to be an executive. Cluelessness and a disconnection from reality are desirable skills. In my non-guru hands, 3Par underperforms against Dell Compellent (and much better people than me have proven this) and the Gen8 servers are now doomed.

I used to be a HP advocate. Their server hardware was my first choice every time for a decade. But that all changed with the release of WS2012 when I saw how Dell had taken the lead – or was it that HP stopped competing? And now HP wants to commit Seppuku at the hands of the samurais at the top. Bye bye HP.

In other recent news, Lenovo bought the X series server business from IBM. I HATE IBM’s products and support. But I do love what Lenovo has done to the IBM PC business. I wonder how or if they’ll repair the IBM server business to give Dell some competition that HP evidently doesn’t want to offer?

8 comments so far

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  1. Idiots! do they not realise that the engineers drive a lot of sales – and engineers hate seeing things get harder with no benefits. What a shortsighted decision!

  2. Completely agree. I received an email from HP the other day about this. I haven’t sold a HP server in quite a while so it’s probably for a REALLY old server (ML310 or something from memory). However it was annoying, particularly as there was a policy in place when I bought the server and that policy has suddenly changed – retrospectively in my opinion.

    Our dual-WAN load balancing router we use here has the same thing. Pay money for firmware updates. It seems to be more of an accepted practice in the world of routers. The former router we had, despite getting 5 years of support with it, wasn’t any good as it didn’t support Lync (despite Netgear saying it would). It was cheaper to stop wasting my time with them and just get a Fortinet one :) So even if you pay for the extended support sometimes it’s just not worth it :(

  3. Downloading firmware for Cisco UCS does require a CCO account, but does not require a support contract.

  4. Same thing with their “business” laptops & desktops.
    I have the impession they are more likely trying to sell LAN desk rather than providing support for Microsoft Management solutions (SCCM).

    See http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-HP-ProBook-EliteBook/Driver-package-for-Pro-Book-650-G1-win7-x86/td-p/6330715 for an example.

  5. I agree one hundred percent, I’m a huge fan of HP Servers I maintain a extended warranty contract to cover my older ones, have recently purchased 2 high end BL465′s and ready to buy 2 more (redoing my Hyper-V Clusters) also all my switch are procurves as well as all my access points , I too was taken aback by such archaic practice when I received the letter, I see no viable business reason for it, I mean what do they think I’m going to do put iLO Firmware on a Dell?

  6. if you buy a support contract… you’d be entitled to firmware updates. From the announcement you quote:

    “This week, HP announced that effective February 19, 2014, we will provide firmware updates through the HP Support Center only to customers with a valid warranty, Care Pack Service or support agreement. ”

    So you’re good. Ergo, I don’t understand the rage. If you bought support for 3 years.. you get support for 3 years. Extended warrenty support.. the same.

    If you were complaining that if you bought a cheap server and then a carepak the carepak could be more than the server.. then maybe you’ve a point. Or you hadn’t kept up the warrenty.. but but you have ..so?

    Really, why for the rage?

    • Because only the minority of customers buy the support. And then what happens after 3 years. Plenty of people angry about this. It’s dumb by HP, like as if they’d just bought shares in Dell – which of course they can’t anymore … so just dumb squared.

  7. “If HP doesn’t want to offer me stability, then why the hell would I consider using their out-of-date hardware?”

    This sort of answers itself – they want you to purchase NEW systems with their twisted views on Lifecycle management – Greedy greedy greedy! Great job soiling the bed yet again, HP.

    This ruling will be reversed by summer! I’m fed-up!

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