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Q&A with Léo Apotheker

Leo Apotheker.jpg

 

HP CEO Léo Apotheker has talked to customers, media, investors, and employees around the world since announcing his plans to reposition HP’s business for the future.

 

We had a moment to follow up with him today and discussed the technological trends driving his thinking, HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, and the relationship between hardware and software.

 

Tell us about one of the market forces driving these decisions, and how they relate to HP’s proposal to acquire Autonomy


The majority of data being created today is “unstructured”.  This means the  information is not naturally found in the rows and columns of a database but in more human friendly items such as documents, Web pages, presentations, videos, phone conversations, emails and IMs.  That makes it difficult to analyze, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.  Quite the contrary.

 

Customers see tremendous value in the ability to make sense of this data.  And HP has an opportunity to lead in this area, transform unstructured information into meaningful insights and deliver it to customers better than anyone else.

 

This kind of “information and document management” opportunity with Autonomy seems like it would relate to the imaging and printing business


Yes, that is true.  IPG is the market-defining player in printing and content digitization and would be able to do some amazing things with Autonomy’s technology.

 

And let me say this: VJ and his team are tremendous innovators who have built one of HP’s most profitable businesses from the consumer to the enterprise – full stop.  IPG is an integral part of our future and we will continue to invest to profitably grow IPG.

 

So it’s fair to say that hardware businesses are still core to HP’s future?


Absolutely.  We’ll continue to develop and market the powerful hardware, software, and services that we have.  We are embracing the hardware business and building on it.

 

We are getting much more deeply into the business of combining our discrete technologies into solutions.  Hardware is critical to that vision.

Take the “unstructured data” example I just spoke about.  People are calling this “big data,” because there’s a huge quantity of it.  Well, all that data has to be captured. It has to be processed.  It has to be shared. Storage.  Servers.  Networking.  Printing.

 

After we closed the Vertica acquisition this year, we were in the market with an integrated hardware/software appliance in a matter of days.  That is the kind of solution and speed-to-market customers want and which HP can deliver better than anyone else.

 

You need hardware to run software and there’s fantastic opportunity for innovation and profitable growth in both areas.  This is accelerated when they are combined.

Labels: leo apotheker
Comments
Constantine A Murenin(anon) | ‎09-02-2011 01:38 AM

"You need hardware to run software and there’s fantastic opportunity for innovation and profitable growth in both areas."

 

This and other quotes again reinforce the mixed message about the future of webOS:  you are writing off the webOS hardware and scraping it as dead, yet saying that you'll continue to support the webOS software business as usual; at the same time, unrelated to webOS, continuing to insist on the idea that hardware and software are better served together.

Karsten Skov(anon) | ‎09-02-2011 06:53 AM

Are you sure you know what you are doing ? You talk about data has to be captured and shared. Yet you just killed off the most important platform that enables putting shared data in the hands of the people who needs the data. The mobile platform.

Are you insane? ( I saw this q&a on my Pre3, I live in DK, bought it UK)

regards
Karsten Skov

Ethan_Bauley ‎09-02-2011 05:38 PM - edited ‎09-23-2011 10:49 PM

Thanks Karsten and Constantine for your comments.

 

With regard to Constantine's comment, I understand how this could be confusing.  The distinction we are drawing is not philosophical ("hardware and software innovation can be accelerated when combined") but in terms of market adoption (the sales and profitability of specific products).

 

I hope that clarifies things a bit.  Leo elaborated on the webOS hardware decision in his 8/18 conference call; you can read a transcript here.

 

In terms of the continued development of the webOS software platform, stay tuned to the webOS Developer Blog.

 

Best,

 

Ethan

HP Corporate Communications

Edward Parker MD(anon) | ‎09-14-2011 05:08 PM

HP obviously doesn't know what it is doing with regard to remaining in the PC business. First, it was announced by the CEO that HP was getting out of the PC business. Now HP says it is either getting out of the business, spinning it off into a separate division or keeping the PC business in house. I bought a HP desktop 18 months ago, and now I feel I own an orphan. HP doesn't know what it is going to do which spells out lack of support for my computer. And it is unlikely I will buy another HP. Most likely I will return to Dell. I have never seen a CEO of a major corporation announce a big change to a company division and then discover that the CEO had not really decided what he wanted to do with that division. Pulling the TouchPad before it had a chance to catch fire is another boo boo.

 

I am a long-time HP calculator user starting with the HP-35 and including the HP-50G. I worry this part of HP will disappear too. Is Apotheker trying to destroy HP?

Ethan_Bauley | ‎09-23-2011 10:49 PM

Hi Edward - apologies for the late reply.

 

With respect to your desktop computer, no changes have been made to support agreements; HP will continue to stand by its products and customers.  We will also continue to invest and innovate in our product lineup.

 

Thanks for your comment.

 

Best,

 

Ethan

HP Corporate Communications

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