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Print 7 comment(s) - last by cfaalm.. on Jul 16 at 5:23 PM

Move is a surprising one, given HP's relative disinterest in mobile

Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) has been struggling mightily over the last couple years with stock plunging from an early 2010 high of ~$52.50 USD/share to a late 2012 value of ~$12.50 USD/share.  Since that time, HP shares have more than doubled amid a general stock market surge and the steady leadership of new CEO Meg Whitman.  However, one central problem for HP remains -- the company lacks any cohesive strategy for mobility, even as the market shifts away from the traditional personal computer.  

HP has at times appeared defiant, insisting that it does not need mobile to survive.  In that light the news that HP has added Ray Ozzie -- former chief software architect of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) -- to its board may seem a surprising one.  Just last year HP had been countering claims by Mr. Ozzie that the market was entering a "post PC" era.  Now they appear to be tapping his insight.

However the move follows recent direction changes at the personal computer giant, as HP has begun to soften on its abandonment of the mobile space.  After dumping webOS in Aug. 2011, HP for a long time largely overlooked the tablet and smartphone sector.  But earlier this year reports began to trickle out indicating that it was preparing a new device campaign, leveraging Google Inc.'s (GOOG) popular mobile operating system Android.

Ray Ozzie at Microsoft
Ray Ozzie [Image Source: Software Development Times]
 
The first result of that new look was the Slate 7-inch Android tablet, which debuted at $170 USD in Feb. 2013.  Despite that attractive price point, the tablet's much lower spec than the Nexus 7 ($199) ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) has made it a slower seller than HP hoped.  The tablet is #857 in Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) computer device rankings, following a price cut to $144 USD.

HP is also rumored to be preparing an Android smartphone offering.

In his new post, Mr. Ozzie will join the board's technology committee and the finance and investment committee.  Under those roles he's expected to guide HP in acquisitions and R&D to make the company more mobile.

The company also added a couple of other prominent names -- Robert Bennett, former CEO of Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA), and James Skinner, currently the chairman of Walgreen Comp. (WAG) and former CEO of McDonald's Corp. (MCD) -- to its board, as well.

Source: HP



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RE: Not dead yet
By Tony Swash on 7/15/2013 3:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The death of the PC has been grossly exaggerated.


I think what we may be witnessing is the not so much the death of the PC but the death of the old PC market. The old PC market was big, growing, dynamic. What seems to be happening is the PC market is shrinking as the role of the PC shrinks. People are buying fewer and replacing less often. For a very large number of consumers a tablet or even a smart phone is a much more attractive option to let them do the stuff they used to do on their PCs but without the downside of PCs (complexity, security worries, steep learning curves, costs, etc). A surprising amount of enterprise activity. It seems, is migrating to devices.

So the new PC market when it has stabilised into it's new configuration will be much smaller and quite a few traditional PC OEMs will find there is no longer a viable business model there for them. Where that leaves Microsoft is the big question, if they cannot break into the mobile device markets in a reasonably big way, and their track record so far has not been great, they may find it tough going.


RE: Not dead yet
By Ammohunt on 7/15/2013 3:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the traditional PC market has plateaued but not every growth market is centered around portable devices. Why not build embedded appliance like PC's that forgo the complexityies of Traditional PC's? http://utilite-computer.com/web/home just announces a $100 Arm based PC that runs Ubuntu. Why not release an Windows RT based appliance device such as this driving a desktop monitor?.


RE: Not dead yet
By robinthakur on 7/16/2013 7:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it is up for debate really, the number of people that need actual desktop pc's or even laptops in the majority of cases would be better served overall by using tablets. This takes into account, device bulk, battery life, time from start to usability and app cost and availability. You can see this clearly in sales terms, and it has been happening for a pretty long time.

It is hard to say whether the launch of Windows 8 has affected the downwards trend in sales, most people had already committed to buying a new platform, be it an iPad or a Samsung Pad or a Nexus when all MS had to offer was Touch Enabled Windows 7 or Vista back in 2010. Once they are on a different platform and have built up some purchased apps, it becomes much harder to steal them back, especially if what they've currently got is 'good enough' which is what MS is finding now. Why would a savvy consumer want to pay traditional PC prices of $1000 for some clunky, less elegant, less portable solution involving lots of cables? I value the power of a desktop or a powerful laptop but I don't like the heat or noise they put out, and they do take up a lot of space.

Most companies I know have found ways to work around things like MS Office not existing on the iPad for example and the end result is that they don't see MS Office or indeed MS as being as important any more or at least the only enterprise option, as it used to be given that they effectively had zero presence in what was obviously a fast growing market at the time, mobile.

I'm a SharePoint developer and architect, and you can see the shift across all of Microsoft's server products towards Cloud apps and rich web clients which work through a web browser and are relatively tablet friendly. Even at work, very few people here have traditional laptops or PC's anymore unless they are BYODs, the standard setup is thin-client where you connect to VMware based Terminal Servers. Where users work from home over VPN, they all seem to want to connect up their Macbooks and tablets, the number of user that connect from a Windows machine and a MS Web browser is surprisingly low.


RE: Not dead yet
By cfaalm on 7/16/2013 5:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the number of scenarios calling for a full blown desktop or laptop are dimishing.
It really boils down to what you do with your device. I think the desirable screensize, computing power or given application determine what is best: desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone. It is not so long ago when laptop makers were producing DTRs that were actually replacing desktops and now tablets are replacing desktops and laptops. It's just not all for everyone.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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