HP is evaluating UDDI proposal: Fiorina

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) is evaluating a proposal from the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) project formed earlier this month by a coalition of vendors and consultants aimed at developing a new standard to ignite business-to-business electronic commerce.

In a keynote address at the Networld+Interop trade show in Atlanta late last month, Carly Fiorina, president, chief executive officer and chairman of HP, said the company is “judiciously evaluating” the proposal, but didn’t elaborate, except to say that people should “stay tuned for more details from HP in this space.”

Ariba Inc., Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp. and several other key players in the e-commerce market launched the framework Sept. 7, describing it as a worldwide business registry that will live on the Web and list information about businesses, including what products they sell and how other businesses can interact with their systems. Ariba, Microsoft and IBM, which have been working on UDDI for six months, said it would provide the foundation for companies to conduct business with each other over the Internet.

The UDDI framework is built on TCP/IP, HTML and XML and supporters plan to turn the project over to an unidentified standards body in 18 months. The first three registries were to go into beta within 30 days of the announcement.

Fiorina compared the UDDI project to HP’s E-speak, which is central to delivering on a services-based mobile computing model and already does many of the things that the UDDI project proposed, she said.

“E-speak today enables the automated discovery and interaction between Web services. It delivers capabilities today significantly beyond those that generated so much hype in the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration standard,” she said. “And E-speak is open source.”

Fiorina, who picked up HP’s chairman of the board title last month, said the company believes a vendor-neutral, open industry standards-based approach must be applied to the new technologies and standards that are emerging to enable the next generation of computing.

Fiorina also mentioned HP’s efforts to acquire the management consulting services practice of PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP to accelerate the company’s move into IT consulting. Though HP has made efforts to grow its consulting practice internally, there is increasing demand for consultants who are linked to technical players, and the best way to address the market shift is through an acquisition, she said.

“The days of talking to one company about business strategy and another about technology implementation are over, because business strategy is about technology,” Fiorina said. “The link between business transformation and IT implementation is now inextricable, and our conversations with customers are evidence of these changes.”

Another major point of Fiorina’s keynote dealt with the technology shift to IA 64, which she predicted will become the scalable processing architecture for the Internet age. The performance and scalability of IA 64 is essential to supporting the millions of devices that will be connected to the Internet, she said.

“IA 64 is crafted for dynamic, Internet-based interactions and transactions, is optimized for security and is designed for rich media processes and object oriented environments,” she said.

IA 64 will promote computing harmony by standardizing multiple applications and operating systems on a single industry standard hardware platform, also noting that HP’s explicitly parallel instruction computing is the foundation of IA 64 architecture.

“We think that gives us a big competitive advantage in the areas of compatibility, technology and time to market,” she said.

But she also acknowledged that big architecture shifts take time, and so HP will continue to invest in its PA RISC architecture.

“We believe in the shift to explicitly parallel computing that’s embodied in IA 64, but we are not compromising an inch on our commitment to the RISC architecture,” Fiorina said.

HP is also committed to supporting the NT, Linux and HP-UX operating systems on its existing chip architectures as well as on IA 64, she said.

HP, based in Palo Alto, Calif., can be reached at