that was a LONG time ago.
I designed and sold HP ProCurve and Cisco side by side for the largest multi-state distributor and installer in the region. The vast majority of our local schools, government offices, hospitals, and medium businesses went the HP way based on price, but also based on higher availability configuration options, better modular designs, lack of SPOF in switches, lifetime warranties, and more.
We deployed million in HP gear, and millions in cisco gear. In several cases, we co-deployed solutions from both in heavy performance testing, and the HP switches routinely outperformed their Cisco counterparts at half the cost.
Earlier Procurve stuff before and shortly after the Foundry acquisition were not as good. The stuff made in the last 3 years or so however is awesome gear. Its easy to set up, the management suite is far superior, they use 100% open protocols, they're more configurable, and we even found the regional support to be better. When we first started selling HP, we were at the time the largest Cisco reseller in our area of the country, and even though we made less profit per sale on HP, within 2 years we were outselling Cisco 2 to 1. Of our several hundred clients who bought Hp systems, they continue to be good HP customers, and have never looked back to Cisco. The majority use BOTH Cisco and HP systems in the same network. On state contract, ProCurve is the preferred brand, and they have to specific reasons why Cisco would be required in place of HP in order to qualify for state money towards infrastructure upgrades.
Cisco makes great gear, but HPs gear is as good if not better, their prices are better, their configuration options are better, its easier to make medium networks more resilient and immune to single component failures, and they're easier to manage. I've never encountered issues with HP switch software or firmware unless someone actually screwed up the installation (which I see just as frequently with people failing Cisco setups too). If you use the central management tools, it;s even easier to keep all the switches on the same software revisions, and identify configuration problems, something Cisco makes you buy seperately and charges a small fortune to license anualy.