But speaking of Hurd's strategic vision for HP: even with a deal this strategic and broad, the company's split personality is highlighted: is HP a PC company that dabbles in the enterprise, or is it an enterprise-strength business-technology powerhouse that just happens to sell PCs? This is a serious image question for HP, and one that we've raised before: what strategic position does HP aspire to claim in the overall tech business?
This identity uncertainty was highlighted in a bullish research report put out by investment advisory service Zacks.com about the HP-Shell dealand remember, this is from a stock-picking outfit that is excited by the deal and what it means for HP's financial prospects. Here's how the Zacks.com report begins:
"The world's largest PC and printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard Company is in the news for winning a mega deal with oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc."
So HP wins a hugely strategic deal involving a range of advanced sensing and wireless technologies and spanning much of its extensive product lineyet HP is portrayed as "the world's largest PC and printer manufacturer." Will the real HP please stand up?
Perhaps I'm splitting hairs because what's beyond dispute is that Shell picked HP for an incredibly important project, and Shell didn't let the "world's biggest PC company" label confuse the issue. But inevitably, companies take on reputations and archetypes that can confound reality, and with HP facing steep and intensifying competition in the enterprise IT space from IBM, Dell, Oracle-Sun, Cisco, EMC, and others, it's probably a good time for the company to clarify who it is and how it wants to be known.
Bob Evans is senior VP and director of
To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.
For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].