HP: We are shifting resources from PCs to tablets

HP: We are shifting resources from PCs to tablets

Summary: We're catching up fast, insists chief executive Meg Whitman, as HP shifts its focus to tablets

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Innovation is not dead at HP, according to the company's chief Meg Whitman, who says the company is shifting resources from PCs to tablets in a game of catchup.

"In September 2011 we were nowhere on mobility, so we're catching up fast but we have to manage these transitions when they were perhaps not managed as well as they could have been," Whitman said at the Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The company has recently revealed a few changes to its PC business, selling off WebOS to LG this week, and launching its first Chromebook as well as a new $169 Android tablet.

"We're not incrementally changing the business, we are shifting resources from PCs to tablets, from one operating system to another, from one kind of chipset to another."

The company hopes to meet "specific needs of customer segments" with its new approach to multiple operating systems and chipsets in its products. 

But in an effort to convince investors that HP has stabilised since her arrival in 2011, Whitman said not to expect changes on the scale of the once-considered spin off its Personal Systems Group business.

HP will however look to further "portfolio rationalisation within the portfolio", which could include smaller products or projects, similar in scale to its sale of Halo to Polycom.

There are still 15,000 more redundancies to go in its three-year workforce reduction campaign announced last year, which aimed to cut 29,000 from its roughly 300,000 global workforce. 

In addition, Whitman said HP will address "non labour savings", including its supply chain and back-end IT systems, which she said HP had "underinvested" in recent years. One example was that it recently moved 27,000 sales staff to Salesforce.com. 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, MWC, Tablets

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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21 comments
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  • Could they be any later to the tablet party?

    this is going to be brutal
    zmudd
    • When your OS providers are putting out tablets before you are

      I would say yes, you're a little late to the party.
      William Farrel
  • Good luck HP

    Somebody else is going to eat HP's lunch... HP shifting away from PC business is like digging its own grave. Andorid tablets is not going to be adopted in enterprise.
    Owlll1net
    • Re: HP shifting away from PC business is like digging its own grave.

      Shifting away from a money-losing business isn't digging the hole, it's getting out of it.
      ldo17
  • HP: We are shifting resources from PCs to tablets

    Chasing an already fading trend is not a good way to do business. More stories of HP's falling to come later.
    Loverock-Davidson
  • Microsoft Surface

    HP should be going with Microsoft's Surface / Windows 8 Pro. I can see enterprise adopting that far easier than I could see enterprise adopting Android.
    sfoalex
    • Re: HP should be going with Microsoft's Surface / Windows 8 Pro.

      Why is two companies failing at something better than one?
      ldo17
      • Why two failing better than one?

        It's called herdbound mentality. When people can't think, they look to what is big or popular, and deem the big or popular, 'good'. So two once-magnificent companies are going down the rabbit hole with Alice.

        No one is addressing WHY this switch to what is considered 'mobile'. They think it's the mobility. It's more, the problem of the OS and machines being dysfunctional. Fix the dysfunction, fix the OS so it doesn't make one's life WORSE, and you gain sales. No one is yet aware of that obvious solution. Instead, they keep on making their products harder to use, and bite each other.
        brainout
        • Re: So two once-magnificent companies are going down the rabbit hole with

          But HP is choosing not to follow Microsoft down its death-spiral.
          ldo17
  • Lovin' the tablets?

    Even if businesses do take on some of the mobile toys, they're still going to want/need their PCs back at the office orfice. Who wants to depend on something that means to update it at all often means buying a new one instead of just adding an app or a card to a machine. And the home user, well, it's the newbies being suckered into this "buy new" every few months and far surpassing the costs of a Desktop in often under a year. I have a Win 7 laptop and an XP Pro SP3 desktop which is nearly 10 years old now. Guess which is the much preferred?
    The desktop, of course, with its limitless expandability, lots of USB connections and room for lots more cards should I need to install some more of them.

    Why buy crippled toys with no expandability option requiring multiple purchases of new equipment every few months to just get one new featue you think you need?

    The market is living off the newbes and inexperienced rght now and as soon as those masses fgure out what they're missing by not having a Tower hiding under the desk and is so easily updated and upgraded.
    And BTW, XP Pro is SO much more user friendly and with things grouped logically and sensibiliity that Win7 is like an easter egg hunt to find some things. This Dell is also compatible with and was sold witih Win 7; but SP Pro was also a choice, so guess what? I kept XP Pro as my install of choice. I even received a full set of XP AND Win7 installation discs with it.
    Maybe I'm just too practical, but the desktop will always be my favorite. No way any of today's toys entice me. It would take several different toys to replace this one turn-key system I currently run.
    And when MS finally fnds a way to make XP useless, I'll just turn around and install Wn 7 or maybe 8 on it. But toys? Toys are for kids!
    twaynes
    • I dont think so

      At work, my primary machine is a laptop. Any heavy calculation work is done on a Linux server. The laptop goes with me and has Office on it and 4G connectivity and so I can work pretty much anywhere.

      For home use, a tablet is great for 90%. I do miss the keyboard and big screen sometimes and keep a cheap desktop around for that--but it will remain on win7 for the foreseeable future.

      HP should have been offering various platforms for awhile now. Instead, their leaders fumbled and bumbled around.
      otaddy
    • RE: Loving tablets to all the way to the bank

      Then to bankruptcy. Most CEO's are looking at short term savings. The massive security breaches will be blamed on China the lack of productivity on the education system. While these have a strong element of truth the unproductive, insecure BYOD business model will be overlooked. Despite the disasters other short term thinking business models such as too big to fail and betting to fail have caused they have not been abandoned so why would the BYOD/tablet movement be any different?
      edkollin
  • With the worst board and execs

    in the industry, until Meg and her collection of clowns are made part of the "workforce reduction campaign", one of histories great technology companies will continue its slide into oblivion.
    BillFerreira
  • True visionaries!

    How quickly fortunes change.
    Scott HB
  • HP is a WORTHLESS company

    HP is a WORTHLESS company! They have billions in sales yet they can't even develop a competing product against the Microsoft SURFACE PRO. It's just hard to believe and real sad.
    amasys
    • Re: HP is a WORTHLESS company

      Margins on sales of Windows are that bad.
      ldo17
      • Profit Margins

        I think the issue is on the hardware, not the OS. Microsoft should still be making a ton of money, regardless of its stock value. My guess is that Office provides an 80 to 90 percent profit margin. The OS less profitable because of the man hours required to constantly update it.
        jdm12@...
        • Re: Microsoft should still be making a ton of money

          But HP isn't. So why should HP go to the trouble of making a product that only benefits Microsoft?
          ldo17
  • Where's the innovation?

    Don't know what HP considers innovation but a me-too late to the party, race to the bottom Android tablet, with 5 hour battery-life and low res screen is not innovation! Their previous strategy with WebOS was innovative, it was bold, daring, uniquely different. It had potential. Now they're no different from any other generic company putting out generic low quality goods. And relying on other companies to provide them the OS and the ecosystem. Not much different from their strategy with PCs.

    I'll put my money on LG now being more innovative (with the purchase of WebOS) than an HP.
    dave95.
  • HP isn't out yet...

    ...because they still build server machines that can run any O/S made for it...once they make their quick bucks from selling tablets that aren't worth the money (and they will - tablets are trendy even if not practical as productivity tools, so everyone will want one - think "iPad"), they'll go back to PC's. Android is fine if you can do without the normal administrative tools necessary for IT folks (and fine as well for those who are simply media consumers instead of producers). But the experienced IT crowd still shies away from tablets.

    Maybe they'll "innovate" some more and actually crank out something useful like a...oh wait...a PC or something - once the fad fades...
    gcurrier