Over the past year or so, Dell has made some overtures towards the channel in an attempt to build relationships, but they may well be shooting themselves in the foot with their new direct managed services pilot in the New York market, just announced yesterday.
Previously, Michael Dell had said at a PartnerOne advisory council meeting that the company would not target companies with less than 500 employees when selling managed services directly; the New York pilot counters that by selling to the SMB market.
Dell's strategy is to encourage "deal registration," which would allow channel partners to protect access to particular clients. Does it work? It's great for Dell's direcdt sales guys of course, and deal registration does protect a channel partner's existing deals--but in the end, it shrinks the pool from which channel partners can prospect.