HP CEO Whitman: Microsoft, Intel are ‘Outright Competitors’
Mobile devices have been the key forces behind a slump in PC sales over the past several quarters, forcing a large number of tech vendors—including Microsoft, Intel and HP—to look to expand into growth areas and creating new competitors out of longtime partners. However, it’s not only in the mobile space where this is happening. Cloud computing is another area of tight competition for HP and Microsoft, and Intel also plans to be a significant player in this space beyond simply supplying the silicon for the systems that power the cloud infrastructures. The HP-Intel relationship also is being strained in such areas as security and hyperscale computing, where HP is embracing low-power ARM-based systems-on-a-chip (SoCs)—as well as Intel processors—for its Project Moonshot systems. Moonshot systems are small, low-power servers designed for the kinds of massive data centers being run by the likes of Google and Facebook, where energy-efficiency and size are as valued as performance. Those ARM-based SoCs are coming from such vendors as Calxeda, Applied Micro and, eventually, long-time Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices. In addition, Intel is promoting its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) initiative to create a small, self-contained PC based on its x86 chip and which will compete with systems from HP and other OEMs. The push by most major tech vendors—such as Dell—to become enterprise IT solutions providers also is helping reshape the competitive landscape. HP-partner Cisco Systems entered the server businesses with its x86-based Unified Computing Systems in 2009; soon after, HP significantly grew its networking capabilities with its acquisition of 3Com. Similarly, cloud computing and software-defined networking (SDN) also have strained the relationships of Cisco and storage vendor EMC and its subsidiary virtualization technology maker VMware, while EMC has turned to Lenovo for help in the server arena.