APPARENTLY NOT CONTENT with making her employees draw lots or arm-wrestle for desks by banning telecommuting, HP CEO Meg Whitman has decided to let loose the hounds on Microsoft, declaring that it and Intel have changed from being "partners to outright competitors".
In a speech to financial analysts in San Jose, Whitman described 2014 as a "pivotal" year in the plan to turn around the company before going on to proclaim that both Microsoft and chipmaker Intel have crossed a line to become competitors.
This came in the same week that HP announced another Google branded Chromebook, and followed a commitment to both Chrome OS and Android earlier in the year, suggesting that the future at HP could be open source software.
The comment was not unique to HP. Many OEMs have had their noses put out of joint by Microsoft's decision to release the Surface tablets, crossing the line between software and hardware. With the battle for the tablet market intensifying, it is fair to say that neither the HP Slate nor the Surface tablets have covered themselves in glory and it does seem that future marketing battles will be fought over touchscreens.
However we can't help but think that the rift goes deeper. After all, was it not Microsoft that bailed out Dell earlier this year? Whether Whitman's comment proves brave or foolhardy remains to be seen, but it represents a huge about face from the woman who once said of Windows 8, "We have to stick with this. I am a believer." µ