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8/23/2010
10:37 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: HP's Next Two Multibillion-Dollar Acquisition Targets

HP needs to create a unique and unmatched market position playing to its strengths, and these two companies can put HP over the top.

Hewlett-Packard just reported a very strong third quarter with huge gains in networking, storage, and servers offsetting softness in consumer PCs and lackluster performance in services revenue. And today HP seems to be launching a bidding war against Dell for storage vendor 3Par, right on the heels of announcing its plans to acquired applications-security vendor Fortify.

What do those results and those M&A plans tell us about HP's broader plans? What does all of this say about where HP plans to exert its enormous financial strength, product portfolio, and growing sales force?

I think they tell us a great deal, and certainly point to HP's next two huge acquisition targets, which I'll reveal at the end of this column.

On top of all that, in case you're just awakening from a 17-day coma, HP doesn't have a CEO—when the new CEO comes aboard, will he/she decide that everything is running perfectly (not very likely), or will that new CEO decide to reshuffle some priorities and shake up the long-range plans at the world's largest IT company?

One way to dig into this is to think about competition: and specifically, who are HP's top competitors? Does HP compete with everybody in the IT business? After all, HP's massive product and services footprint touches everything from mobile devices to data center architecture, from consumer printers to enterprise networks, from management software to commodity x86 servers, and from data-center outsourcing to retail-photo kiosks.

Or does HP compete with nobody, because no other IT company can match its scale, its product breadth, and its global presence?

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Let me toss out a few names of the usual suspects as competitors and then we'll take a look at each and see what that tells us about where HP's headed: IBM, Dell, EMC, Cisco, Oracle, CA Technologies, and the four big Indian IT-services companies: Cognizant, Tata, Wipro, Infosys, and HCL.

We'll start with IBM:

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