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HP customers seek stability with Whitman

Agam Shah | Sept. 25, 2011
Hewlett-Packard customers disconcerted by management shakeups and product strategy shifts are hoping for a stable future with Meg Whitman, who Thursday was appointed the company's new CEO.

"I think people are looking at things that affect their business strategy. It's the product and product road map," Buik said. Some events over the last year, such as Oracle's decision to stop application development for Intel's Itanium chip architecture, have also made HP enterprise users fix internal road maps.

Buik has chatted with a few Connect members about the leadership change and found that most are "extremely optimistic" about Whitman, who is seen as a good communicator and who knows HP as a director on the board, Buik said.

"She has capital in Silicon Valley, which is important," Buik said.

There is a difference in running a smaller company like eBay, where Whitman was formerly CEO, and HP, Buik said. Whitman has the qualifications to run the company, but will also surround herself with capable people to execute business strategy, Buik said.

Some customers are not concerned about changes in HP as long as the company continues delivering products and services.

Alex de Joode, security officer at Leaseweb, one of Europe's largest Internet hosting providers, said the company was not worried about the turmoil at HP. The company uses thousands of ProLiant servers in its data centers, and in June added 5,700 more servers.

"We did not notice much about the internal struggles on an operational level." de Joode said, adding that Whitman can now focus on the strengths of HP's business, which includes introducing innovative products.

HP's board leadership seems vulnerable, but recent events could be the start of a new chapter, said Howard Owen, the owner of Stafford Printing, which uses HP printers for high volume digital and offset printing.

"They seem to have confidence in Meg Whitman," Owen said.

Owen deals directly with HP's small graphics arts division, which remains unaffected by the management change, Owen said. However, he was a little concerned when the company announced the potential sale or spinoff of the PC division.

"It made me wonder about the future, about the role of graphics services in the big picture for HP," Owen said.

Nevertheless, a new leader brings Owen a renewed hope in HP.

"I hope [Whitman] can get out and interact with the graphics services people," Stafford said. "It'd be great to see her."



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