The start of unbounded spending for HP
HP clearly has to do something to be relevant to cloud customers. Between virtualized servers, hyper-convered platforms (think Nutanix and Simplivity) and big online companies building their own platforms, HP's high margin infrastructure business is getting squeezed out of the fastest growing enterprise markets. They failed at mobile, so they have to make a big bet on cloud. Give them credit for doing what they can, but it's going to be extremely difficult. Amazon does whatever it can to buy market share. Microsoft can still print money to fund Azure and Google's advertising revenue can fund cloud development forever. HP is starting with a huge economic disadvantage where cloud investements are concerned.
How does HP, coming late to the game compete with that? By integrating its cloud offerings better than the Amazon, Microsoft and Google and by making it easy for customers to understand what to do, how to do it and what it will cost. None of the big three in cloud are particularly good at that and seem to have cultures that prevent them from getting there. That's HP's best path to success.
The problem is that HP is going to have to do this through acquisition and that is going to be expensive. As they acquire companies and the talent inside them, they are going to have to make it all work together, which is always far more difficult than it initially appears. It's hard enough getting employees working under a single roof to integrate technology, but HP appears to be thinking about herding cats from open source software - a messy entangled process that has very little chance at succeeding. There is a chance, but it is going to cost a lot and will probably depend on serious mistakes being made by Amazon, Microsoft and Google.