HP's Apotheker Gets More Specific About Company's Road Map
The new CEO says he sees webOS as a legitimate alternative to Windows because it runs devices across the spectrum--PCs, tablets, smartphones, printers and other devices.PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Hewlett-Packard's new chief executive, L??Â«o Apotheker, got a bit more detailed March 29 about how and where he will be leading the world's largest IT company in the future.
Apotheker, who joined the company as CEO last Nov. 1 in replacing the deposed Mark Hurd, didn't have to travel too far for his appearance at Tony Perkins' AlwaysOn OnDemand 2011 conference -- it was held downstairs from his office at HP's world headquarters.
On March 14, Apotheker had made his onstage debut before media types and analysts at a special event in San Francisco, sketching out in general terms about how he expects HP to continue to lead the world's IT companies with new cloud computing products, mobile devices and enterprise services.
"You know the game Angry Birds?" he asked the SRO audience of C-level executives and venture capitalists. "Well, their developers ported it to webOS in two days. Two days! Other apps can take two weeks or two months." HP Changing Its Partnering Tune? HP has never been known to be a company that partners very often with young or startup companies, preferring to work closely with established partners. Apotheker said the company will be changing this approach as it moves deeper into providing cloud computing services and infrastructure. "We can't do all of this by ourself," Apotheker said. "HP wants to have a dialog with everyone in this room. We will continue to do three things: develop on our own, partner with other good companies, and buy good companies." One company HP does not intend to acquire, however, is Apotheker's former employer, German enterprise software maker SAP. "I don't think that is such a good idea," he told Perkins, who guided the one-on-one conversation onstage in the jam-packed room. "I would much rather have a strong partnership with them, and that's all I'm going to say about that." Apotheker said that HP will be focusing more of its resources on producing new products and services to handle so-called Big Data -- petabyte-level enterprise data processing and storage workloads requiring data analytics software and tools. "We'll be going into that big time," he said, in a direct reference to its biggest competitor, IBM, which has been the global leader in that department for years. Apotheker said that HP will be rolling out a new platform-as-a-service business for cloud system building, it is planning to open a new applications store during the next year, and it intends to continue doing business as usual with Microsoft-even with the soon-to-be ubiquitous presence of webOS. HP and Microsoft have partnered for decades in providing Windows-based desktops, laptops, servers and other mobile devices for both consumer and enterprise customers. But Apotheker is keenly aware of the notion that innovation doesn't always come from the companies with the largest head counts. "Big doesn't always move the needle. Smart moves the needle," Apotheker said. HP CEO Leo Apotheker (left) was interviewed March 29 by AlwaysOn founder Tony Perkins at the OnDemand 2011 event in Palo Alto, Calif. (Photo by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK)