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HP quashes investor unrest, looks to servers for salvation

Melissa Riofrio | March 22, 2013
HP's annual shareholder meeting emphasized opportunities in IT and servers for the big-data economy

"2013 we think of as a fix and rebuild year," she said, "where we're focused on the great products and services that HP continues to deliver to its customers."

As she looked to the future, Whitman trumpeted HP's enterprise business. "What's emerging is an entirely new style of IT driven by cloud, mobile, and big data. It's also changing how end users engage with that technology." She pointed to HP's IT and server solutions as, perhaps, the company's new bread and butter. "Only HP can provide solutions for the new style of IT. Our diverse portfolio sets us apart--device, hardware, software, and service from the enterprise to the consumer."

No mention of PCs, printers, and tablets

Through all this happy talk, only that passing mention was made of HP's struggling consumer products, even though Todd Bradley, the Executive Vice President of the Printing and Personal Systems Group, was sitting there with all the other execs. While Ms. Whitman bragged, "our product lineup is the best [we've had] in a decade," the reality is that HP still lacks the tablet and smartphone solutions that would help it remain competitive at the consumer end, where all the big data starts.

While Ms. Whitman has recently stated HP's commitment to PCs, how that and other struggling businesses will fit into HP's future is a lingering question. "HP has maintained that they are in the client business for the long term. I think that right now, they are focused on building out a client strategy that's broader than Microsoft OS based PC's. This includes Android tablets, and Chrome-based PC's. We believe HP wants to hedge its bets in the client space," said Crawford Del Prete, Chief Research Officer at IDC.

By the end of the shareholder meeting, HP had succeeded in maintaining the status quo, while hinting at possibility for change. We are all waiting to see whether it'll come soon enough.


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