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HP CEO Léo Apotheker promises to greatly increase spending on research and acquisitions, eliminating cost cuts. Meanwhile HP's revenue is expected to drop from 8 percent per year growth to 4 percent.  (Source: Google Images)

CEO Léo Apotheker promises to eliminate "cynics" of his vision.  (Source: HP)

HP will also put webOS on every single PC in 2012, including some PCs which will reportedly ditch Windows and exclusively run webOS. The move is designed to reverse HP's abysmal app numbers. HP has approximately 2.4 percent of the apps Google's Android has and 1.7 percent of the apps Apple has.  (Source: Pocket Lint)
Newly "Californian-ized" CEO says he wants to save HP's "lost soul"

Many were critical of the decision to appoint Léo Apotheker, a 57 year-old German native with little consumer retail experience and a poor business track record, to the position of chief executive officer at Hewlett-Packard Company.  Likewise, the decisions Mr. Apotheker has made during the first few months of his tenure have done little to silence that criticism.

Mr. Apotheker, in a recent interview with Business Week, attacked his company's performance under former CEO Mark Hurd.  He states, "HP has lost its soul. The first thing I wanted to do when I joined HP was listen to the people. The rank and file usually know about all the shortcomings."

He promises to get rid of "cynics" of his vision at HP.  He states, "I’m not perfect. Temper comes with temperament; it comes with passion. The one thing I’ve learned is to try to manage my temper better and get rid of cynics sooner."

His vision involves sweeping changes.  Among them, he vows to look at India as a market for his company's products rather than a source of cheap labor -- though what exactly that equates to in production contracts and actual results remains to be seen.  Perhaps even great a change, he is discontinuing Mark Hurd's aggressive cost cutting, replacing it with a policy of spending extra to ensure "quality" and bring promising products to market faster.

But perhaps no change sums up how dramatically Mr. Apotheker is shaking up the company more so than his plans for webOS.

According to his recent interview, HP will install webOS on every single PC it builds in 2012.  WebOS is a mobile operating system built on web-centric languages like Java, PHP, HTML, and XML.  HP acquired it when it purchased device-maker Palm, Inc.  

While this may be limited to virtual machine or dual-boot applications on many machines, past comments by Mr. Apotheker's executive appointees indicate that webOS may replace Windows entirely on some machines.

Although this move does pose somewhat of a threat to the Microsoft Windows empire on the consumer side, ostensibly it's designed to try to jump-start the virtually dead webOS app market.  Apple has over 350,000 apps, Google's Android platform has over 250,000 apps, but webOS has only a measly 6,000 apps.  States Mr. Apotheker of the decision to push webOS on the masses, "You create a massive platform."

Aside from the unusual action with webOS, Mr. Apotheker plans on executing major acquisitions to try to keep pace with rival firms IBM and Oracle -- the firm his predecessor, Mr. Hurd has obtained a major position at.  Mr. Apotheker says he's especially interested in data processing and security firms.

Analysts say Informatica Corp., BMC Software Inc., SAS Institute Inc., Symantec Corp. and CommVault Systems Inc. as possible targets.  Mr. Apotheker has already denied having any interest in acquiring his struggling former employer -- business software giant SAP -- or payroll, business relationship software firm Salesforce.com.

In an attempt to work more closely with his American colleagues, the new CEO has bought a $7M USD mansion and is settling down in Silicon Valley, Calif.  He states, "I consider myself a Californian now. I bought a house in California -- I can even say 'awesome' and 'cool.'"

Mr. Apotheker complains that his predecessor Mr. Hurd was too short sighted in cutting back on research spending and failing to jump on the cloud-computing bandwagon.  Some industry figures do approve of his increased focus on research.  States former executive co-worker at SAP, John Schwarz, "The minute you stop investing in innovation, you start spiraling toward your death."

But ultimately, the bottom line financially may speak louder than Mr. Apotheker's bold vision -- analysts say HP's growth will slow to 4 percent a year in 2011 and 2012.  That's half the 8 percent a year growth that Mr. Hurd managed.  On Wall Street shares have corresponding dropped over 8 percent since the new CEO took over.

 





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