e3000 Business Manager
Moving the 3000 Into HPs Gray
Dave Wilde is leading HP through fresh territory in its
final year of selling HP 3000s. The business manager for HPs
3000 operations is overseeing the details of establishing a
homesteading practice for customers who choose not to migrate.
Its work that serves as a counterpoint for HPs assurances
that all the pieces are in place for customers who must move their
applications onto other HP systems.
After this years HP World, customers left Wilde
and HP with a host of questions about what else HP can do to assist
3000 owners in staying on the platform. Emotion hadnt cooled,
as HP reported to some publications, but a practical dialogue began
between the vendor and its customers about how homesteaders will
manage in a world without HPs resources. One persistent
question began to surface, too: why HP wants to remain a force in a
computer community where it will cease sales in 11 months, and end
support in four years. It was just one of several queries we wanted
to follow up on after the conference, during the months when HP is
planning its next set of homesteading announcements. We spoke with
Wilde in the weeks after HP World by phone, where he explained
HPs objectives in the 3000 homesteading market and what
hes willing to consider.
Why does HP want to force its customers to use HP hardware
while running new MPE licenses on Intel-based systems? Why cant
HP let go of MPE?
The decisions are guided by a couple of factors. One
factor is that we clearly want to retain a relationship with
customers, to keep them as satisfied HP customers. Clearly as we move
forward, we want to structure things in ways that are good for our
customers, and continuing to play a part in our customers
long-term satisfaction is important.
recognize some of the concerns that people might have on one
hand, walking away from the platform, coupled with this may feel a
little bit odd to people. But theres a fundamental philosophy
at play here. Its important to HP that we continue to play a
role in understanding the customers needs and in addressing
As an example, this licensing question that came up about the
emulators: we feel strongly that going forward were going to
have a market-leading offering in the server space. We would like
customers who want to move forward with MPE to do that with HP
We said HP hardware. In the shorter run that could be HP
PA-RISC hardware. Its not only Intel-based solutions.
Whats going to make the HP solution a better deal
for the customers, as well as better for HPs sake?
Were going to have a market-leading offering.
Where customers are staying with HP-based solutions, its in the
interest of the customers to have access to market-leading
Does HP still want these customers?
Yes. For customers who have a need to run things
beyond HPs end of support date, were trying to address
things so theyre retained as HP customers. The things we
announced which HP would try to enable after HPs end of support
date are really targeted at those customers who have more stable
environments and smaller environments, and its more practical
for them to run things beyond HPs end of support date.
Its not our belief thats going to be beneficial to or
attractive to customers with large organizations, large applications
and dynamic environments.
I understand HPs beliefs havent changed. But
is it true that you recognize some portion of your customer base
wont be moving away from the system?
Some of our customers have told us that they need
more time to plan their transitions, and others have told us they do
not intend to transition. They want HP to work on solutions, and work
on solutions with our partners, to make that sort of environment more
available to them.
Are you willing to recognize theres a subset of your
customer base that cant afford to do this transition?
Yes. Their drivers are that its may not
financially the right move for them, either because they cant
afford that transition or theyre deciding its not worth
it for them to make the investment [in a transition]. Were
trying to have a set of solutions for them to help them address that,
without going so far as to say we think thats the right answer
for the majority of the customers. We recognize theres a
significant segment, and were trying to be responsive to that.
Nobody has heard from a large enough segment of the
customers to have a number that's representative, right?
Yes. Ive heard different numbers, and Id
rather not get into guessing what the size of that segment is.
Id believe that its far from the majority, but its
a very significant segment.
How soon can HP have a proposed MPE license fee in place,
so the companies which are considering building a hardware emulator
can gauge their market?
One of the things we said at HP World was that I
prefer not to trickle information out one-off. It has a tendency to
confuse the message and also tends to be inefficient in terms of
getting substantive announcements to our customers. We were able to
announce a solid bundling of new information, as well as
consolidating that with existing information, and I like that model
The model that seemed to resonate with the folks at HP World
was roughly quarterly announcements, while providing updates when
available. That would indicate around the end of this calendar
I will state, and I think this is important, that with this
licensing HP is not looking towards structuring the MPE license to
make the emulator financially unattractive to customers. We
dont want to state anything about particulars until weve
thought the costs through and what some of the customer needs are.
Gavin Scott of Allegro said he thought it would be a lot
more attractive to any company offering a hardware emulator if they
could ship a demonstration version of the emulator off with enough
MPE for a test. This involves someone shipping off MPE other than HP.
Is that prospect possible?
Im very open to different alternatives and
approaches within the boundaries we announced at HP World.
The objective is to help make this solution work,
Yes. Another objective is to make sure that
expectations are clear, so we dont oversell and overset
expectations for customers.
Are you willing to get into a position where HPs
just collecting royalties for MPE?
Im open to lots of alternatives. There are many
issues from a customer and partner perspective: legal issues and
constraints in the future that we want to make sure dont result
in an untenable position for anybody. Thats one of the reasons
we want to be, not vague, but non-specific at this point. Were
in a gray area we havent been in before.
Whats HPs position on third parties taking
over portions of the delivery chain beyond the end of sales date next
Were working on partners with different
elements of the value chain. Thats something were
definitely doing in the transition space. Another area is remarketed
systems, and we have a very strong relationship with Client
Systems subsidiary Phoenix Systems. Were definitely
interested in working with them. Were open to documenting what
were doing so customers and partners interests are also
protected, along with HPs interested.
Suppose the emulator runs on HP solutions. We want to
make sure partners arent left in a bad position in case HP
makes future decisions that are inconsistent with that announcement.
Were very open to different arrangements, subject to
representing reasonable business needs from HPs perspective.
The point is that Im very open to needs not
just from HPs perspective, but also from a customer and partner
perspective. Well be working with the OpenMPE group and with
partners and customers who are expressing concerns.
Whats the thinking behind maintaining the current
pricing model for current A-Class performance?
Doing things like releasing all the horsepower
thats available in one chassis has a ripple effect thats
not acceptable for the pricing model. But were heard that
customers who have bought into an A-Class chassis may some needs for
more upgradability. One of the questions we asked was if there was a
price associated with an additional upgrade within an A-Class
chassis, would they be interested? Thats a price consistent
with our overall pricing model. There seemed to be some interest in
that which well continue to look into.
Is this a way for a customer to avoid having to find an
N-Class system to upgrade to after HPs sales of N-Class systems
Yes. If theres enough interest and demand, and
we can structure it in a way that it fits in well with our
established pricing model, its something Id be open to
trying to structure.
Why so much attraction to a pricing model that was
conceived before HP decided to leave the 3000 market?
It just isnt practical for us to restructure
the pricing model. We feel we structured it in a way that
theres appropriate value in the system for what were
delivering. Its a reference to purchases that have already been
You recently made a healthy reduction in that cost to
customers with the new pricing. Why not continue in that with the
Within limits weve obviously tried to offer
strong value while recognizing the customers expenses
theyll be incurring through these transitions.
Is simplifying HPs support through such an upgrade
which would give the 6.5 customers something to upgrade to in
December 2004 a factor in creating an A-Class upgrade?
There might be some impact there. But theres
enough customers in different segments that some customers
incrementally going to upgrade probably doesnt fundamentally
change the support picture from HPs perspective. Whats
more meaningful to me is if it gives customers more degrees of
How long do you think CSY will continue to operate as a
virtual entity with HP after 2003?
CSY is the value chain that delivers 3000s to our
customers. In that respect, it exists though 2006. How its
managed internally is a subject that nobody can predict. From a
customer perspective, for me the goal is that customers would see a
3000 business orientation through HPs end of support date.
Whats the contact for that virtual CSY beyond end of
sales? Its looking like the reseller channel will be folding
its tents next year.
From a channel perspective, whats the contact
point? Were working closely with Client Systems in the Americas
to identify different ways they can support customers. Well be
continuing to work with all our partners. Well need to stay
tuned as things move forward.
From an HP perspective, Im the business manager, and
Im the go-to guy. Wed like to make sure the virtual CSY
value chain is also represented cleanly and consistently to our
customers. Exactly how thats implemented over time may change.
It works best where our customers would be able to work with HP in a
Having said that, I continue to feel like I have an important
role in adding value.
What about you? How long do you want to be the 3000 go-to
I basically want to do this as long as two things are
true. One is that I feel like Im continuing to add value, and
that HP wants me to continue doing that. Whether thats months
or years, nobody can predict. Theres no timeline for the end of
that right now.
didnt expect a few years ago to be in the business, let alone
in this particular role. Things have worked out in a way that
Im pleased to be in this role, and feeling like I have an
opportunity to add value. Its hard to tell these days what the
future holds. Things are changing very quickly, both inside and
outside the company.