Yesterday Microsoft and HP announced a deeper partnership through which they intend to offer solutions based on Microsoft Software and Hewlett Packard hardware with an emphasis on cloud computing. Hard to know what this really means and the reporting I have seen does not offer much in granular detail other than to recount that they intend to spend $250 million on the exercise.
Here are some thoughts on what could be significant about it:
Microsoft's strength is in the enterprise. If this deal pushes cloud solutions aimed at small business and consumers to HP it could be a good thing -- particularly since it would help Microsoft stay focussed on its strengths. Some of the reporting on the announcement mentions that there is an enterprise element to the HP partnership. I really don't get that. Microsoft and HP both have big ongoing relationships with enterprise customers and I just cannot imagine the companies throwing that business into this bucket.
HP is no Google in terms of consumer focus, but is well positioned to deliver the broader marketplace. So there is a chance HP could make it work.
Who else is impacted? As with many of these deals, the people not in the deal are as important as those named. The most significant is Dell. We do not know how this deal changes the relationship between Microsoft and Dell. We will have to keep an eye on that. Other players like VMware and Cisco will also be interesting to watch in the context of this deal.
So initially I think it is a good move by Microsoft. The downstream execution and the reaction of the other related companies will determine if is a winner of an idea. Either way, there will be more to this story.