HP's low earnings benefit Sun's drive for customers

SANTA CLARA, CA: The timing of Hewlett-Packard's disappointing enterprise revenue numbers couldn't have been better for Sun Microsystems.

SANTA CLARA, CA: The timing of Hewlett-Packard's disappointing enterprise revenue numbers couldn't have been better for Sun Microsystems.

For several months, Sun has been running a program called "HP Away," an effort to lure HP enterprise customers to Sun. The company had planned to give the campaign a push late this month to coincide with HP World, the company's user conference.

But the week before the conference, HP announced disappointing earnings, largely on the enterprise side. Shortly after the August 11 earnings announcement, HP replaced three executives.

Andy Lark, Sun's VP of global communications and marketing, said HP's bad news speaks directly to the points Sun is making in this campaign. He added that the timing couldn't be better as Sun gives the effort a big media push.

"This whole effort has been led by PR, and then we scale it out to other marketing," said Lark. "HP has created a lot of uncertainty around its architecture and road map."

Sun is working with Bite Communications, which handles Sun's competitive communications, to reach out to trade, business, and tech media to tout its success stories and how Sun helps companies migrate from HP.

PR is also pushing this messaging in online advertising, blogs, and bylined articles, and is also reaching out to Sun's sales team to provide talking points.

John Wiltschut, marketing program manager for HP's enterprise storage and servers division, said HP has similar competitive programs to Sun, including programs aimed at wooing Sun's customers. But HP is not doing anything out of the ordinary to respond to Sun's "HP Away" push, other than answering media questions and disputing claims by Sun.

One of those claims is that the company has taken 150 of HP's customers. Wiltschut called that assertion "ridiculous."

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