HP Labs: Breaking PCs to Build Better Systems
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, was among those on the tour and came away with an appreciation for HP's efforts. "These guys are really serious about this stuff, and they want to win," Moorhead told eWEEK. "I'm really impressed with how concerned they are about the quality of the products." Such concern is always important, and certainly not special to HP. But Moorhead said the company is keeping in house some testing stuff that some other OEMs are outsourcing more these days, and is now making a push—through such efforts as the media and analyst tour—to let enterprises see what steps it's taking to ensure the quality of the products. That will become even more important in 2015, Moorhead said. The analyst is predicting a rebound in the PC industry, a market that has seen dramatic declines in global sales since 2011 as consumers and business users turned more of their attention and tech dollars to tablets and smartphones. IDC analysts, which in March said PC shipments fell 9.8 percent in 2013, forecast that shipments will slow another 6 percent in 2014, with the declines lasting through 2018.That would be good news for HP and a range of other tech vendors, from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices to Dell and Acer, all of which have seen their finances hit by the downturn in PC sales, though in the first quarter, several reported stabilization in their PC businesses. Despite the decline, HP CEO Meg Whitman and other executives have stressed that PCs will remain a key part of the company's overall strategy, not only for the money they bring in, but also for their role as a gateway into businesses so that HP can upsell other products.
However, Moorhead said he sees an upswing for the market next year. Among the reasons: Consumers are going to continue to see the performance of PCs climb while prices fall, and businesses also will see improvements in price/performance while continuing to refresh their systems as they migrate away from the aged Windows XP operating system, he said.