For-pay firmware fallout: HP will provide free security updates for server buyers


Hewlett-Packard said security and safety updates will be provided to all its server users, after a controversy surrounding the company’s decision to restrict access to firmware updates to server customers on warranty or covered by a support agreement.

“We understand that updates addressing security and safety are important for your business, and will continue to provide those updates to all server users,” wrote Mary McCoy, vice president for server support in the company’s technology services unit.

McCoy said Friday in a blog post that from Feb. 19, HP will provide firmware updates through the HP support center “only to customers with a valid warranty, Care Pack Service or support agreement.” Claiming that the move aligns with industry best practices—despite the fact that several competitors don't charge for server firmware updates—McCoy said HP is not trying to force customers into purchasing extended coverage. “That is, and always will be, a customer’s choice,” she wrote. 

In an update to the blog post, HP said that the firmware access changes will apply to HP ProLiant servers only. The company will not put entitlement requirements on iLO, I/O, or controller firmware, and is only covering ProLiant system ROM and complex programming logic devices (CPLD) firmware under its revised program, McCoy said.

McCoy defended HP’s decision to limit access to firmware to those who pay for it. “It is through the sales of warranty in the product, and sales of support services after the warranty, that we are able to invest to create great customer experiences with our products,” she said.

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