Interview: HP’s personal systems chief

LAS VEGAS – It’s been a year of change for Hewlett-Packard Co., as CEO Meg Whitman seeks to turn the ship around and put the technology giant back on a firm footing after a period of confusion surrounding its commitment to the PC business.

As part of a corporate wide reorganization, Whitman merged HP’s business units into just two: the enterprise group, and printing and personal systems (PPS). Emerging at the head of PPS is executive vice-president Todd Bradley (pictured). The new position gives him responsibility of HP’s product development and go-to-market, from printing and imaging to mobility, laptops, desktops and tablets.

(Meanwhile on Thursday HP [NYSE: HPQ] issued its latest financial results for the three month period ending Jan.31: First quarter net revenue was US $28.4 billion, down six per cent for the same period a year ago. Net profit was down 16 per cent to $1.2 billion. Still, analysts said it wasn’t as bad as they feared.)

During HP’s Global Partner Conference here, Bradley sat down with IT World Canada for a wide-ranging discussion of some of the challenges and opportunities HP sees today in the enterprise space.

On HP’s plans for the mobility space:

“The plan is one of aggressive sales tactics to engage customers and talk to them far more about our products as they relate to the creation and consumption of content. The decision not to spin off our PC business was basically made on the reaction of partners and customers on the value it brings. We’re clearly in a rapidly changing time in the industry. The aggressive development of mobility, the transition from Wintel to ARM processors … the whole plate shift taking place represents a tremendous opportunity for those focused on creating the right products for the segment we compete in. For example, the (HP) ElitePad is an enterprise-driven tablet with enterprise-grade security and app compatibility. The classic form factor is declining, and tablets are increasing aggressively. We’re focused on the creation and consumption of content.”

On the supposed pending death of the PC:

“People have been saying the PC is dead for … I’ve been in the industry for 12 years and it was dying when I joined. I think computing devices are clearly changing, be that form factors, and the segmentation of them. What’s important in Toronto or Chicago may not be important in rural China. We believe leveraging our broad scale I what will compel us to be successful.

On re-entering the smartphone market:

“We’re doing a lot of work to look for the right place for smartphones in the category and segments we serve. That line between tablet and smartphone is blurring pretty quickly though.”

On HP’s Chromebook:

“The success of the Chromebook was driven by an understanding of customer use cases when they buy it. We’re executing that model. We’ve seen a lot of interest in Chromebooks from various education departments around the world. I think it will be a great first step.”

On Intel’s Ultrabook form factor:

“The Ultrabook form factor is compelling. Like many products, as the prices become more aggressive we’ll see broader deployment. I think the price point (is an issue). The AMD-based (HP) Sleekbook has been very aggressively adopted. I think there’s a market there, a broad market, and this is one segment of it. I don’t think there’s any one answer to the computing question today.”

On Windows 8’s (lack of) impact on PC sales:

“Windows 8 has been slow (to be adopted) with the lack of touch broadly and because of demand and price. The difference in the OS has in some ways slowed adoption. We’re doing a phenomenal amount of work to educate customers. Price points of touch are on average $100 more than non-touch products. We’re in a touch economy, so that’s a big jump.”

On competitor Dell Corp.’s decision to go private:

“I don’t think it has much effect on the market overall. It represents an opportunity for us with customers to deal with the uncertainty of what all that means. We see it as an opportunity to work with our partners to more aggressively go after incremental new business as customers worry about what it could mean for their existing products and what may exist after the transaction is complete.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
As an assistant editor at IT World Canada, Jeff Jedras contributes primarily to CDN and, covering the reseller channel and the small and medium-sized business space.

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