IBM partners should not fear Oracle-Sun, says channel chief

IBM insists its partners in the Middle East should not be worried about potential challenges

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By  Julian Pletts Published  April 27, 2009

IBM insists its partners in the Middle East should not be worried about the potential challenge that a combined Oracle-Sun channel could pose, citing the track record that its own channel has in providing end-to-end solutions.

Oracle and Sun resellers remain excited by the prospect of uniting Sun’s hardware and open source portfolio with Oracle technology, believing it could strengthen their resolve when coming up against rival offerings from HP and IBM partners.

But Jean-Christophe Knoertzer, IBM’s director global business partners for the Middle East, Egypt, Pakistan and Africa, is adamant that the IBM channel’s heritage in combining hardware, software and services leaves it in a strong position to fend off future Oracle-Sun partners looking to provide holistic solutions.

“I think they [IBM partners] should be very happy to realise that everybody is doing what they have been doing for many years — to have an integrated portfolio,” declared Knoertzer. “I feel that we are well ahead — and our business partners are well ahead — with having an integrated portfolio.”

IBM was originally the favourite in the race to take over Sun but pulled out of a deal last month, leaving the way clear for enterprise software vendor Oracle to make a US$7.4 billion bid instead.

“I cannot comment on Oracle and Sun and what their business partners are seeing, but what I can say is that we are very happy to see that everybody is copying our strategy of being integrated in front of the customer,” said Knoertzer. “My only comment is that it is easier to be integrated when it is all coming from the same company.”

He also said news of the Oracle-Sun merger was unlikely to alter IBM’s channel strategy in the Middle East.

“We will, like we have always done, attack EMC’s install-base, attack HP’s customers, and we will attack Sun hardware. Now, if you are asking me whether it is good timing today to attack Sun customers, I would tell you that this is a market truth and we are trying to play on the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.”

Knoertzer refused to be drawn on whether IBM would actively attempt to recruit Sun partners unsettled by the Oracle takeover, instead saying that any resellers which present a good prospect for the vendor will be duly considered if they can fill gaps in IBM’s market here.

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