HP PCs back on the menu with Dellish plans

HP will be sticking with its PSG group, as it casts its net far and wide. Can it manage?

With client systems it already has strong business acumen. On top of its highly rated enterprise laptops, HP has a solid thin client division and equipment to support virtualised desktops.

"In VDI and the growth of virtualised desktops, that's something we're pretty well positioned for," Hunter said. "That's both from a technology infrastructure perspective we're doing a lot of work with corporate clients to put that in and also from a thin client perspective Decisions were made two years ago in anticipation of that."

A wise move?

There is little doubt HP is casting its net far and wide. It wants to focus heavily on software and services like IBM, whilst providing for the enterprise's whole stack including cloud deployments - and client needs like Dell.

One fears HP is taking on a Herculean task in its broad strategy.

This could mean tying its various divisions closer together, including bringing PSG further in. "Our services and our other technology portfolio, whether it be storage or networking or servers, I think there is more to be gained from a closer collaboration with us [PSG]," Hunter said.

"I think there is an opportunity to build on the portfolio that HP has to offer and actually to make and strengthen relationships with our customers on behalf of the whole of HP. I think that's an opportunity for us. I think it's one we weren't conscious enough of while we were certain of our involvement. When that got questioned pretty publicly, one of the reflections of that was that there's an opportunity here that we have not been taking advantage of in the way that we should have been."

Yet one fears HP is taking on a Herculean task in its broad strategy. What will concern HP's board right now is how successful IBM has been in moving away from PCs. Indeed, the PC business generates the least operating income out of all HP departments, Hunter admitted. It'll be disconcerting to see Dell receiving praise for its strategy shift too.

In taking on both Big Blue and Michael Dell's empire, as well as the umpteen other firms in their industries, HP has a mammoth task on its hands bigger than either of those two rivals. We'll have to wait some time to see how HP fares it took IBM two decades to get to where it is now.

If Whitman and Co succeed, HP will be one of the most profitable technology companies on the planet within the next 20 years or so. If they fail, HP will be a case study in how the switcheroo can backfire badly.

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