HP Global Partner Conference, Las Vegas – Vendors dealing direct with end-user customers – or “named accounts”  – has always been a bone of contention within the channel, but it is a problem that HP is seriously looking to resolve as it realises its future hinges on its partners and their continued loyalty.

Whether due to specific government or international regulations, or simple bloody-mindedness, there are always those customers who will insist on dealing direct with a vendor. But HP CEO Meg Whitman says that the company will do everything in its power to try and alleviate the problem.

“There are a series of accounts that we will take direct,” she says. “But we have to be very clear what they are. The partners in this room have helped to build HP into what it is – we wouldn’t be here without them – and I’d say we have to err on the side of working with our partners when it comes to named accounts.

“There will be times when we have to take direct,” she adds. “But we have to be very clear on the deal registration. There will be customers who want to deal direct because of regulations or because they want to do business with us, but if a partner has done nine months of work on that account, they will be paid.”

Neither Whitman or any HP executives that we spoke to were clear on what would happen in terms of annuity deals that may end up going direct – a scenario that they are certainly pushing their partners towards with their Converged Infrastructure/Cloud solutions – but it is clear that named accounts are a bugbear for many partners.

Having said that, Whitman’s and executive’s statements on the matter do seem to indicate a step in the right direction for loyal channel partners.