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HP to load WebOS on all its PCs from 2012

CEO tries to drive software sales
Wed Mar 09 2011, 13:47

FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP will bung WebOS into every PC it ships from 2012.

HP's decision to load WebOS on all of its PCs was announced by its CEO Leo Apotheker as he issued a call to arms to HP's employees. Speaking in India, Apotheker said that HP had cut enough costs, a reference to his predecessor, Mark Hurd, and his zealous cost cutting regime, and that he will be trying to increase revenues from its software division.

With HP yet to release its latest crop of WebOS devices, Apotheker's announcement that HP will load the operating system on thousands of PCs is obviously meant to encourage developers to build applications for the operating system. Apotheker said that WebOS has only 6,000 applications while IOS and Android have 350,000 and 250,000 applications, respectively, and he proposed that in order to differentiate HP's products from those of its rivals, "you create a massive platform".

Apotheker, who was parachuted into HP following Hurd's departure in August 2010 over expenses irregularities, has said he wants HP to grow its software sales. That's not particularly surprising as Apotheker spent many years at SAP and told 4,000 HP workers in Bangalore, "I happen to know something about software." That might be so, but sales at SAP fell during Apotheker's nine month leadership, and that performance has left some investors wary of Apotheker.

At present the bulk of HP's revenue comes from flogging computers, overpriced printer ink, networking equipment and IT services. One analyst told Bloomberg that only 2.2 per cent of HP's revenue came from software. With those sorts of figures, it's not surprising that Apotheker thinks HP can make some headway with its software operations.

Although Apotheker has announced that HP will be shipping WebOS on all of its PCs, the operating system isn't quite ready for prime time. Even HP's staff at Mobile World Congress stressed that the devices on show were running unfinished versions of WebOS. The firm has a lot work to do to ensure that the operating system is ready for mass deployment. That said, even with WebOS still a work in progress, there is no doubt that it is one of the most impressive operating systems to turn up in a long time.

With Apotheker categorically saying that Mark Hurd's era of cost cutting has come to an end and giving the firm's research and development teams more freedom, there might be hope for HP to regain its position as one of the great information technology companies. µ


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