Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker said the company's plan for the WebOS is on "getting the right applications on our devices" and then showcasing them in a "magazine type of an approach."
Apotheker, speaking at a Bernstein investor conference, was responding to a question about a 30,000 app target by the end of the year for WebOS. Of that sum, 20,000 would be tablet oriented. Apotheker said HP wasn't focused on raw numbers, but having the right mix of apps for both the consumer and enterprise audiences.
Specifically, Apotheker said:
We are focused on getting the right applications on our devices. When you look at how people use these devices, in general people use 10, 12, 15 devices and not more. Actually, we are trying to create an environment where developers to get the kind of exposure on our catalogs the way they would like it to be. So, A, we are trying to get the right applications. B, we are trying to get the right portfolio of diversity of applications. And, three, we are creating a whole new approach based on the magazine type of an approach so that people can kind of reason, find out what we have. It's going to be a magazine called Posit, which will be available online.
The WebOS is part of HP's overall "webware" strategy that will cut across both PCs and printers. Apotheker indicated that the company could be a disruptor in the market on the consumer and enterprise fronts.
Webware is ready for prime time. It's now out on a small phone, the Veer. And it will be out on the format of the tablet by the end of June/early July. And it will go into distribution then. We are all about Webware. We are more than about this with the other form factor. And I am happy to reconfirm that Webware will be available on PCs, on top of Windows, which creates a whole new market dynamic for Webware.
Apotheker also reiterated HP's distribution plan for apps. "We are going to put Webware also on printers. So we can create the kind of a platform of about 100 million, 110 million devices a year. And by the way, we won't shy away from licensing Webware to others if that opportunity arises," he said.
Apotheker's talk had a familiar theme to it. HP is partly playing defense, outlining its strategy and convincing investors that it can hit it earnings targets will investing in the future. Among Apotheker's key points:
- HP is too big to be a revolutionary. Apotheker said: "What you want to achieve is the fastest evolutionary path possible."
- The services unit is struggling because the revenue mix has been too heavily weighted toward IT outsourcing. That's a rough business where prices tend to be cut every contract renewal, said Apotheker, who added HP is bringing in more talent to focus on higher-margin business process outsourcing. That revenue mix will change over the next six quarters.
- The PC business has been derided unnecessarily. HP is still growing the PC business and is strong on the enterprise side. Consumer sales remain weak.
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