HP CEO Whitman and the new envelope-pushing HP Z1 workstation share a very LL Cool J style message: We're not back; we never left.
this week of the Z1
, a tower-less, 27-inch display workstation unlike any
other in the world, came with a clear message. Lest anyone miss it, HP held an
event in Las Vegas this week, alongside its worldwide partner conference, to
shine a light on it.
analyst Roger Kay, writing for Forbes
described the Z, "the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of an Apple
iMac," as worthy of its own event, though he had his doubts at first.
Still, he also discovered, the crowd-pleasing HP CEO Meg Whitman and her
message were the real attractions.
"We've got our swagger
back, and I hope you do, too," Whitman told channel partners, analysts and
others gathered at the event, according to Kay.
"The message to the
press and analysts was subtle," Kay added. "Not exactly 'We're back,'
it was more like, 'We never left.'"
Despite changes in
management, the thud of its tablet efforts and the confusion of whether or not
it would sell off its Personal Systems Group, the thinking went, HP's computer
makers continued to toil away, and the resultor hopefully one of the resultsis
the envelope-pushing Z1.
While PC makers have been
gaining in imagination and craftsmanship, HP has been losing market share,
according to research firms such as Gartner
. By the
latter's count, HP's fourth-quarter 2011 market share was down nearly three
points from a year ago, as year-over-year growth fell by 16.2 percent.
its "protect and attack" strategy
has been fast gaining on HP's
heels, posting 23 percent year-on-year growth during the fourth quarter and
boosting market share to 14 percent, from just over 11 percent a year ago.
Even Dell, the third-ranking
global player, posted 7.8 percent year-on-year growth. Apple, the third-ranking
player in the U.S. market, behind HP and Dell, respectively, posted 20.7
percent growth during the quarter, making it the only vendor in the top five to
post positive growth. Research firm Canalys, which includes tablet shipments in
its PC totals, tells
an even sadder story for HP
and a much happier one for the iPad-shipping
On. Feb. 22, HP will
announce its latest earnings. According to the Wall St. Cheat Sheet
, average analysts estimates are for a profit
decline of 36 percent, compared with actual earnings a year ago. In the last
three months, the average estimate has lowered, but "it has been unchanged
at 87 cents during the last month."
Whitman's replacement of Leo
Apotheker, her likability, her message and the products beginning to come out
of HP may be the beginning of something newor of the old HP, as the company
Hewlett-Packard Company," writes the Cheat Sheet, "as nine analysts
rate it as a buy, six rate it as a sell and 12 rate it as a hold."
reporting on comments from analysts with investment firm Jefferies, likewise
published Feb. 15: "We believe both Dell and HPQ had solid quarters
relative to their guidance ... The worst-case scenario ... now appears
unlikely. We expect relatively optimistic guidance from Dell and HP."