New HP CEO: Apple Could Lead PCs in 2012

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Meg Whitman, the new CEO of HP, conceded that if you include tablets, Apple could lead HP in personal computer unit sales in 2012, but she also expects that HP will regain the lead in 2013. With a new commitment to the personal computer market, Mrs. Whitman is looking at the long-term for the future of HP

HP CEO Meg Whitman

HP CEO Meg Whitman
Photo by Max Morse

HP might be second only to Netflix for corporate upheavals in the last six months. In August, the previous CEO, Leo Apothekar, announced that HP would be getting out of the PC business, discontinuing the recently released TouchPad, and dropping WebOS. Mr. Apothekar was dismissed from HP short thereafter, having only served 11 months at the company. Mrs. Whitman, hot off a losing campaign to be govenor of California, was soon named as his replacement.

Perhaps it is because of this upheaval that Mrs. Whitman is taking a longer-term view for the company. In an interview with the French language, she acknowledged the 70 year history of HP and said her goal is to position HP for the next 70 years. She said she understood that changes will take a few years and expects HP to be a much stronger company five years from now. The executive will also be taking a conservative view of acquisitions in the near term, recognizing that this area too would benefit from stability more than risky growth.

HP is expected to reenter the tablet market in 2012 with the Slate 2. This device will use the Windows 8 operating system instead of the nearly defunct WebOS that the TouchPad used—the fate of WebOS is supposed to be decided within the next two weeks. The company has already recommitted to the PC market, and will continue to be active in the hardware and services markets. Whitman, in her short tenure, has already addressed many of the areas of concern that the market had with HP.

As far as competition with Apple goes, Mrs. Whitman isn’t the first to express confusion about whether or not iPads and other tablets should be counted as PCs, but it is a sign of respect for Apple as a competitor that she is willing to conced the iPad as playing a role in helping Apple’s growth as a maker of computers.



Let’s see. If iPads are included then Apple will pass HP. HP doesn’t have a tablet business at the moment; but Windows 8 and the Slate 2 will along with keeping their PC business will regain the lead. It will be interesting to watch this one play out. It looks like Back to the Future at HP.


If HP can build tech these days that manages to match the reliability of the HP 5MP printer in my home office, then maybe they can get back to where they were…......


I have owned a number of HP products over the years. I also was looking forward to their doing some great things with WebOS. HP’s management just hasn’t been equal to the task of keeping up with technology. Taking a longer-term view is not a bad thing if it isn’t too long and doesn’t kill innovation. Otherwise, five years from now they will be left behind.


In this day and age portrait photographs should be by default displayed in original aspect ratio. I hate it that Ms. Whitman looks like a fatty in this photo. MacObserver and Ms. Kuehl, don’t you have the time and technology to respect peoples’ appearances?


I probably could trace the fall of HP (downgraded today) to the series of female execs it saw fit to honor with running one of the great tech giants of the century.  How they lost printer market share is enough to make them a laughing stock alone.  Like a populace who razes an empire to salve their racial guilt, the HP Board can’t suppress the urge to report home to their wives that they picked a WOMAN to run things.  But let’s not say that.  That’s horrible!

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