HP Throws Gas on a Fire Over Server Firmware and Update Access Changes

HP Throws Gas on a Fire Over Server Firmware and Update Access Changes

On Wednesday of this past week, I first reported about HP’s intent to prohibit access to server firmware and updates unless equipment was under warranty or customers were covered under an extended service agreement. You can read about that here if you missed it: HP Alters Access to Some Server Updates, Now Requires an Entitlement Contract.

In my report, I surmised that the change had to be due to cost cutting measures. I still believe that, however, thanks to an article today from Ed Bott, it appears that Mary McCoy, Vice President of HP Servers Support Technology Services, took to the HP blogs on Friday to further communicate HP’s stance on the changes.

In the post, Mary says…

This decision reinforces our goal to provide access to the latest HP firmware, which is valuable intellectual property, for our customers who have chosen to maximize and protect their IT investments.  We know this is a change from how we’ve done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners.

I think Mary’s use of “intellectual property” seems a bit strange because she goes on to attribute the intellectual property to the customers – almost like it’s an afterthought. At the end of the day, I’m pretty sure HP retains intellectual property. I didn’t realize customers were renting intellectual property when they became HP customers and their rental expired when warranty ended. I thought HP customers were just purchasing hardware and support. But, I guess that does kinda make sense, technically.

I’m in agreement with Ed Bott in that this is not an industry best practice. Ed uses Dell as an example, stating that Dell allows unfettered access to server firmware and updates. I’ve worked with Dell for years, and am an inaugural member of their RockStar program, and have always found the company to be very community and customer-minded, supplying whatever customers need to get the job done. Customers don’t stop being customers just because warranty expires. There are some companies that do require a contract for updates, but it’s not a wide-ranging practice.

It’s also strange to hear how Mary stated that it “is the right decision.” It sounds like the decision is final.

In Mary’s last paragraph, she states…

At the end of the day, we want you to know that you can continue to count on HP.

You can read Mary’s aptly titled blog post here: Customers for life

I heard about the changes from irate HP customers on Wednesday when the news first broke, and the subsequent days didn’t ease the complaints or the pain, in fact, customer angst only heightened. Similar to when Microsoft announced the end of TechNet Subscriptions in the summer of 2013 or how LogMeIn removed their free software option for a full paid model just recently, many customers seem offended enough to consider migrating away from HP hardware.

Let’s hope Mary’s blog post is enough to quell customer objection but I really don’t think it will be enough.

How do you feel about HP’s decision?  How do you feel about Mary’s blog post?

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