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HP hedges against declining PC business, diverts some resources to tablet division

HP hedges against declining PC business, diverts some resources to tablet division

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Meg Whitman HP (Verge original image)
Meg Whitman HP (Verge original image)

HP has made it clear it has some ambitious aspirations, and at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today, CEO Meg Whitman gave some insight on how the company is hoping to achieve those goals. Unsurprisingly, a large part of its approach is to address the company's former failures in mobile. "What happened is the market moved very fast to tablets and smartphones and now we've got to manage that transition," she said, noting that her predecessors did to try to address the shift by buying Palm. "But as you know, under the previous administration that took a little detour to nowhere."

As a result, HP has expanded the way it thinks about its computing business. "We now have the opportunity to compete in a multi-form-factor world, a multiple-OS world, a multiple-chipset world," Whitman said, "which allows us to combine form factor plus OS plus chipset to meet the needs of very specific customer segments."

We are shifting resources from PCs to tablets.

Investing in additional operating systems and device types isn't something the company is taking lightly either; it's actually pulling employees away from its computer business in order to do so. "We are shifting resources from PCs to tablets, from one operating system to another... so we're reallocating where we're putting our energy and our people and our resources."

The company, Whitman says, is "optimistic" about its chances — but that doesn't mean it will be all good news moving forward. Whitman cautioned that the company was still in the process of working through its $3 billion restructuring plan. "So we're about halfway through a three-year restructuring program," Whitman said, noting that the company has only gone through about half the workforce layoffs it has planned — with another 15,000 job cuts still to come.

With Whitman also considering selling off non-essential business divisions or products — LG just bought key components of webOS from the company this week — it's clear the CEO will be moving forward as aggressively as possible. Whether it will be enough to turn around HP's fortunes, or result in compelling products, is a question that at the moment remains unanswered.

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