- Flickr/Heisenberg Media
Microsoft approached Lenovo more than a year ago and asked if Lenovo would help Microsoft sell its Surface Pro PCs to businesses, says Lenovo’s COO Gianfranco Lanci.
He told Microsoft no.
Lanci told the story Wednesday at an event for PC resellers held in Barcelona this week, the Canalys Channels Forum.
The initiative got Microsoft’s biggest PC partners to sell and support the Surface Pro 3.
“I said no to resell their product,” Lanci said at the conference, adding that Microsoft “asked me more than one year ago, and I said no I don’t see any reason why I should sell a product from, within brackets, competition.”
Dell, on the other hand, said yes. And the initiative was launched with much fanfare last month, with video statements from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Dell CEO Michael Dell extolling the arrangement.
It wasn’t surprising that Dell signed on. Dell has been especially cozy with Microsoft since Dell went private in 2013, with the help of a $2 billion loan from Microsoft. And Dell is trying to shift away from the sinking PC market and into more lucrative consulting and high-end enterprise products anyway, which is why it announced plans to buy EMC earlier this week.
Hewlett-Packard later joined Dell and agreed to sell and support the Surface Pro 3, too.
But on Wednesday HP PC chief Dion Weisler hinted onstage that he wasn’t really thrilled to be part of Microsoft’s plan.
“These are customers we have been working with for many, many years and we don’t simply want to cede those relationships to a competitor, so we said, ‘OK, we’ll participate in that.'”
But HP salespeople won’t get commissions for selling the Surface and HP will only “sell, service, and support Surface if the customer absolutely insists upon it, but that is not our first preference,” he said.
For its part, Microsoft insists its PCs complement its partners and doesn’t compete with them.
Still, Microsoft’s PC partners are quietly fuming at Microsoft since it released yet another Surface product: the Surface Book laptop.
PC execs at this conference indicated that they were wary of Microsoft and “need to be a little bit careful,” Lanci said, since they still rely so heavily on Microsoft Windows.