IBM and Red Hat’s channel programmes to remain separate

Red Hat Summit 2019 branding

IBM will not be merging its partner programme with that of Red Hat, the two companies announced, following the conclusion of their $34 billion acquisition deal.

The move is designed to ensure Red Hat's continued independence and position as "the Switzerland of IT", executives from the two companies said. The acquisition has sparked fears that Red Hat will be subsumed into IBM's larger corporate body, alienating long-time Red Hat fans and partners.

"Red Hat supports, I think, pretty much every hardware vendor out there; that's going to continue and how they work with those vendors has to remain in confidence between Red Hat teams and those vendors," said Arvind Krishna, IBM's senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software. "It's not for IBM sales teams to go look into and interfere. All of those aspects of what we mean by neutrality and independence."

"Both companies have a sales force, meaning then both companies have a channel partnership programme. People who want to sell Red Hat products have to be a member of the Red Hat channel programme, which is different than the IBM channel programme, People who are selling IBM products will be in the IBM channel programme; very straightforward. We would love for every possible partner to be in both, but they're not becoming one."

"Red Hat sales folks will not get comped on IBM products," Red Hat's executive vice president of products and technologies Paul Cormier added. "And that was a conscious decision on IBM's part. Because from the beginning, from the early part to these discussions that we had with IBM, I think IBM recognised as much if not more than Red Hat, on how important our independence was into keeping the ecosystem growing."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.