Again, when we think of free, the next immediate thought is, "What's the catch". Well HP has their catch for those of you who want to get your firmware updates back. Unless your ProLiant Server is covered under a warranty plan, a support agreement, or the company's Care Service Pack, you can kiss your firmware updates goodbye. The vice president for the support technology services division of HP, Mary McCoy aims for this directive to further help maintain priority for the customers "who have chosen to maximize" their protection for their IT investments. McCoy goes on to acknowledge the fact that this is not how the company used to run its business, but continues to reassure that it is the "right choice" for the company's customers and business partners.
Decisions like these do not come without questions, retaliation, and a bit of resentment. And as is to be expected, many customers have had a few things to say in response to this change. One, Lindsay Hill, claimed that the firmware updates would come with "multiple rounds of reboots" in order to obtain all of the updates completely and effectively. Hill then went on to say that there was no "business value" in "fixing bugs that shouldn't have been shipped". Needless to say that this decision has not been met with a warm reception.
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Hill also made an effort to point out the arduous task of constantly checking to make sure that the warranties of each individual server system was up to date, along with checking to see if HP's support lists are actually completely accurate. Hill, like many others, fail to see where the possible "business value" of taking this free firmware update system away from those without warranty could come from. McCoy, however, has confirmed that the customers who have their servers currently under warranty will not be charged for their firmware updates. She has also acknowledged the idea that some think that this is a way to push their customers to purchase warranty packages for their services. She has stated that "that is, and always will be, a customers choice".
HP's decision to take away the free firmware update service may not have been the best one, as now many of the customers could choose to get their servers from other vendors. The fact that you must purchase a warranty to ensure that the product that you have already spent money can work seems like quite the slap in the face to loyal customers. HP may have to rethink their decision on this. Time begets change, and only time will tell.