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11/3/2010
07:36 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: HP CEO Leo Apotheker's Agenda: What Will He Do First?

He said he'll travel the world to meet HP stakeholders, and spoke broadly (oracularly?) about HP's future in software and 'the stack.'

Hewlett-Packard's new CEO started this week, and the company's not saying much of anything about Leo Apotheker's initial actions or priorities. But since HP is the world's largest IT company, and since it operates across a vast swath of not only the IT business but also vertical industries, lots of people want to know what those priorities are and where he'll be focusing his early attention.

According to a statement released by one-time business partner and current legal-drama adversary Oracle, one thing Apotheker will not be doing in his first week atop HP is testifying at the Oracle-SAP trial taking place this week in Oakland.

"Hewlett-Packard has refused to accept service of a subpoena requiring Mr. Apotheker to testify about his role in SAP's illegal conduct," said the Oracle statement, released Nov. 3. "Mr. Apotheker started work for HP on Monday [Nov. 1], but it now appears that the HP Board of Directors has decided to keep him away from HP's headquarters and outside the court's jurisdiction. We will continue to try to serve him."

The only other insight we have into Apotheker's first-week activities come from a brief conference call he had with analysts a month ago after HP announced his selection as CEO and president—so let's take a look at that transcript to see what he said about his priorities at HP.

On an analyst's comment that software accounts for only 3% of HP's revenue: "HP should be more valuable than the sum of its parts. And in order to make that happen, we all believe, and HP has a long-standing commitment to that, that software is sort of the glue to make that happen. Software is how we differentiate on our industry-standard platform. Software is how we can make sure that the various parts of our technology actually fit well together.

"It's not only software though. Also higher value-added services are increasingly an important element and an important component in the strategy as well. So you should see us working on all of these elements."

What type of software will HP invest in? "You know, HP has such a diversified mix of businesses and products and services that I believe that we are uniquely positioned to be a strong player in every part of the stack. It's a little bit early for me and it would be somewhat presumptuous to say which exact part of which element we are good or even better at, so I am not going to comment on that. But I am sure we will have ample opportunity to discuss what we are going to do in many months going forward."

What he'll focus on first:

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