HP CEO: Microsoft is becoming our 'outright competitor'

Microsoft's entry in the computing hardware market with its Surface tablet line reportedly took some of its Windows hardware partners by surprise, and now HP CEO Meg Whitman has gone so far as to say Microsoft is becoming an "outright competitor" of her company.

At HP's annual financial meeting Wednesday, Whitman claimed "Wintel-based devices are being displaced by ARM-based PCs and mobile devices," primarily referring to tablets such as Apple's iPad. Whitman noted that worldwide PC sales are declining while tablet sales continue to grow.

In addition to the rise of tablets, Whitman noted that HP faces increased competition in the market, even from previously close partners.

"Our business-specific competitors are exhibiting increased pressure in targeted areas," she said. "Current long-time partners such as Intel and Microsoft are becoming outright competitors."

HP has worked to expand the diversity of its lines of computing products, increasingly using Google's Android operating system for tablets alongside Microsoft's Windows 8. Whitman notably didn't call Google a competitor at the financial meeting despite the fact that Google sells its own Nexus smartphone and tablet line that it creates with partners. Google's Motorola subsidiary also made the Xoom tablet, though that was released in 2011.

Notably, however, HP may have been directly responsible for Microsoft's entry into the tablet market.

In June 2012, The New York Times reported that the failure of the HP Slate 500 tablet resulted in Microsoft considering its own tablet line. Microsoft reportedly was unhappy with HP using below-average parts, with The Times writing that Microsoft executives were unhappy because the tablet was "thick, the Intel processor it used made the device hot, and the software and screen hardware did not work well together, causing delays whenever a user tried to perform a touch action on its screen."

Source: Barron's via Techmeme | Image via Microsoft

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Lol. HP should only blame itself. HP used to design decent laptops in the early 2000s (IMHO), but something happened and they started releasing really crappy laptops (sometimes straight up pretending to a MacBook). I've known several people that switched to MacBooks after having an HP.

One girl never could figure out why her touchpad wasn't working after using it for just a week; HP has a stupid double-tap the top-left corner of touchpad for locking the trackpad that isn't so obvious. She was so annoyed (and maybe the help she was looking for wasn't much of a help) and ended up getting a Mac. I had the same issue too before, and looked at the manual and found the stupid feature trigger. Ugh. Another friend probably was tired of his being laggy and the stupid pre-installed software he wasn't aware of uninstalling.

It also doesn't help HP makes a ton of different models with almost no distinguishable differences that consumers have to judge is more worthwhile, lack proper dedicated support for, and there are almost zero accessories since there are so many freaking models to support with different dimensions.

One of the worst is their customer support. I had some issue once about with the laptop crashing if it got too hot, and the Indian dude on the phone was very unhelpful (pretty much reading a script) and not really listening to the things I already troubleshooted on my own. What really ****ed me off was when he got angry when I told him I wasn't interested in buying a 300GB back-up drive for $60 from HP (we had ended up saying I could ship my laptop to HP to repair, but I didn't have a back-up drive) and said I could probably use my brother's instead.

The support guy felt so angry that I wouldn't take up his offer. He was saying things like, "Do you not trust me? Are you lying?" like stupid stuff like that because I didn't want to buy an overpriced back-up drive. Stuff like that is why I never plan on buying any consumer-grade HP products for a long, long time if possible. It may look decent, have good-sounding specs, and at a OK price, but the build quality is crap and you'll be lucky if it lasts 2 years. This is based on a upper-mid range product and a more middle-low range product I've bought from HP.

The Surface alone is better than every single laptop that HP has made for the past 5 years. Dear HP, this isn't competition, you guys left the door wide open.

Microsoft would have never felt inclined to position itself as a competitor in the first place had companies like HP and Dell lost all imagination and innovation and began churning out bland consumer products.

I've only ever owned HP tablets and had nothing but bad experiances. Their lineup is ****, their support is ****.. everything ****.

My laptop, a 2011 new DV7 apparently doesn't exist anymore, all traces of such removed from their site. Can't get their ****ty HP specific drivers (which were **** anyway) but who cares. Building a desktop as soon as I don't have to use a laptop for work so I don't have to deal with it anymore

Interesting, I have the same laptop and don't have any issues. Also, All traces of such removed? Are you sure about that? Perhaps you shouldn't be quick to leave school. I think you need a reeducation on a lot of things.

The website even has a dumbed-down version for you to use where it will scan your computer for your model.

I guess they know the far majority of its users don't know what they have or how to do a search and just cry about it. Only a guess


Interesting, from the US site you can find it. I live in NZ and the NZ/AUS site is a joke [EDIT - in the last month it seems they have done some major work upgrading the NZ site to match the US one. So in this case I eat my hat )

Anyway, the fact it "exists" again now (I emailed their NZ help centre a few months back who told me "that model is no longer supported" ) doesn't deter from the following

Assuming you can get hold of HP's graphics drivers, they are prone to constant BSOD's and crashes, moreso they haven't been updated since May 2011. Don't try to use them on Windows 8, it's a joke. AMD don't make a driver for the 6770M themselves, instead they refer you to the OEM - HP so you're screwed there. Intel have a driver but it is very basic and lacks OpenGL support amongst other things.

The fingerprint scanner is another bundle of joy, again, Vidality refer you to the OEM who don't have the driver anyway, but assuming you still have the driver it's pretty dicey anyway. On Win7 the scanner light would constantly flash for no reason and after a few sleep/wake cycles, would cease to function until a reboot. With Win8 a single sleep cycle is enough to render it dud.

At least my keyboard works you might say, but no, after one of their service centres over torqued a keyboard screw tearing the mount of the KB it makes a pleasant rattle now and again, but that's fine, apparently somehow that's my fault. It would be cool if the F5 key refreshed the page like it's supposed to but nah, you have to press fn F5, again it worked before this milarkey HP service centre "fixed" it.

Then there's the BIOS. Can't change anything there except the time. Unfortunately for me, it's been a rough ride.

I have no issues with the finger print reader. However I only use it to log in. But The computer sleeps after 30 minutes. Through out the day, the computer sleeps several times. After the screen comes on, I am able to unlock it with a swipe of my finger.

In other news, HP realizes the sky is blue.

HP has done so many crazy things like refusing to use the Win2K version of Alpha, and even their lackluster Win7 Tablet design that they killed even after preorder sold out. HP continues to sell server products and their own UNIX.

HP has made themselves a competitor to Microsoft, especially after moving forward with Chromebook and ignoring Windows 8 tablets until recently.

HP goes through cycles of truly crazy CEOs.

They got themselves to blame. None of Microsoft's partners was producing a 'sexy' tablet that could compete with iPad. All of them had fat ugly devices with a design from the 90's. Surface is showing what hardware partners need to be doing.

I love how this community is so quick to attack Acer when they made certain claims and now HP. I'm seeing some sort of pattern here.

Co-op-etition: Cooperation and competition. That's how Microsoft is working with partners where there's overlap, but I suppose HP kinda missed that clue?

To a degree they are, but they also are not. At this point MS makes two specific devices, two tablets, and not any that they charge more than any of their OEM partners do specifically because they leave them room to undercut IMO. With the Surface Pro starting at $899 all their OEMs are free to massively undercut MSs hardware with their own x86 devices.

Second MS doesn't, as yet, make laptops or desktops, I don't think they'll make desktops ever but I do expect to see some sort of 13" and maybe even a 15" Surface laptop/hybrid from MS, then they'll be competing more with HP and OEMs unless of course they take a page out of Google and have someone else make them, but I bet it wouldn't be HP and it would end up being Dell.

HP should slap themselves in the face, you can't even manage to produce above average product quality and you decided to whine over one of your longest business partner over selling a better computer than you. I think HP should look up microsoft as a hardware company because they had enough of your piece of crap hardware and decided to fix your mess rather than competing!

What HP, Acer & Friends seem to forget, is that they did this first to Microsoft by using Android for tablets and making Chromebooks. In addition, HP used their own WebOS as a tablet OS instead of Windows. What they're seeing now is that MS has a real attention to detail with the Surface products, and that they're (now) very good. Gizmodo said: "We've been hands on with the Surface 2 and the Surface 2 Pro, and they're amazing."


This is what worries HP... MS beat HP's product quality on their first try. Stop whining and make good products without copying spple *cough* HP Envy *cough*.

It's a bad sign when the CEO of any company blames someone/something else for their problems.

Those external pressures (Tablets, Intel, Microsoft, etc.) are all out of their control. Their energy would be better served at improving their products, being competitive and NOT putting yourself on record as a right douche.

Hello Meg. Microsoft is taking a dump on all of their OEM equipment "partners". Now that Microsoft knows how to make hardware like you do - eventually Microsoft won't supply Windows to you and you know what. Your dead. Just like Stac Electronics and many others who trusted Microsoft in the past and are not non-existent today.

Taking a dump? Lol. More like knowing how to succeed in business and giving consumers what they want. For HP, I know almost no one clamoring for any of HP's consumer stuff. HP's consumer products are hardly something you aspire to have; they are just the cheap (crappy) options at most retail stores. For Microsoft, there's at least a general interest and following of their Surface products, and much more buzz than anything HP has released.

Technically, it is true, but if they didn't produce consumer products that are second rate, then MS wouldn't have been their competitor - it is actually the same for every OEM. However, some OEMs got MS' message, thus they are manufacturing and designing tablets and PCs that are stylish and functional. Just look at Sony and Lenovo.

In addition, this just proves what I've believe all along that HP and Google's relationship is intensifying.

I can't believe she said that with a straight face. We replaced 2 new HP Tablet PCs (Envy x2) that we bought to test the win8 touch interface waters, within 2 months. The users literally threw them back on the IT support's desks and demanded proper machines. I thought I was saving a few bucks, but end up buying them the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist. Never heard from them again. In the end, we decided to give the higher-ups the Surface Pro (like me) and are standardizing everyone else with the Lenovo Twist. they are cheap, trustworthy, higher build quality, come with the TPM chip, Win8Pro, etc, etc. Thanks but no thanks HP, your demise is all on you

Competition is good, may stop HP churning out some of the crap that they have done in recent years.

On another note, i wouldn't say MS making one tablet makes them an "Outright competitor" of HP's any way.

Microsoft should release product guidelines for hardware designers/OEMs, like laptops can't be more than an inch thick (with the lid closed).

I've always found HPs higher end products (like the Z1) to be really good.

If OEM's weren't making crappy products that crapped on the OS experience then MS would not have had to start making devices themselves. OEM's only have them selves to blame for making cheap crappy products. My surface pro has been one of the best pieces of hardware I have ever owned. Screw HP

HP... If you had made products that were as good as or better than the Surface line MS would have probably never enter the Hardware business. Your inability to be competitive with not good but great products is why they are making Surfaces. Don't complain, be better than the competition and people will buy your products.

As others have commented here the business line of machines is excellent while the consumer line falls into "You get what you pay for"

Tried two Pavilion notebooks. One started to turn off due to overheating even on playing flash games. The other lost all its paint and died completely within two years. There were no important files on it so I haven't taken it to a repair shop yet.

they expect Ms to sit and watch them screw their market, knowing well that they(Ms) can produce better hardware for consumers... No thank you.

The ElitePad 900 has it flaws, but with Window 8.1 its a sweet little tablet. If only it supported a digitizer. The expansion jacket with battery came before the Surface 2 battery cover and looks better IMO. You can't beat the built in Surface Kickstand though. Put a kickstand on the next ElitePad and I'd probably choose it over a Surface 2. Kills the iPad unless you're just into iOS. All the Atom tablets will get a breath of new life with 8.1.

Build better quality products for one. Secondly Microsoft with the Microsoft stores, now is supporting both their product and OEMs even for customer service.

With how crap my experience has been with hp's products, I'd say microsoft isn't outright competition, as they probably blow hp clean out of the water as far as reliability goes.

Dushmany said,
With how crap my experience has been with hp's products, I'd say microsoft isn't outright competition, as they probably blow hp clean out of the water as far as reliability goes.

Laptops and desktops aside, HP makes some good servers.

They have some good enterprise stuff. Their monitors especially are rather nice. HP consumer products - not quite as good....

HP made good servers up until Gen6 after that ours keep breaking, before that we'd have a hardware failure once or twice a year now it is monthly

swanlee said,
HP made good servers up until Gen6 after that ours keep breaking, before that we'd have a hardware failure once or twice a year now it is monthly

In the past 12 years I've had one HP / Compaq (what the proliants were before HP bought them) fail due to hardware failure... and it was an odd case... somehow the chipset got so hot it caused a solder fault on the retainer clip which let the chip pop off its BGA soldering and killed the motherboard... outside that one server failure you had the occasional hard disk failure, but in 12yrs we had about 15 disks fail out of hundreds of 15K RPM SCSI and now SAS disks..

techbeck said,

Laptops and desktops aside, HP makes some good servers.

Agreed. HP DL and Blade servers are rather a standard now amongst my customers, it's been a long while since i've been involved in an implementation using another vendors servers.

There's a special place in hell for the HP MSA2000 disk shelves.. we have some of them left over and almost universally they've given us problems. They don't seem to bad standalone, but as soon as you stack multiple shelves, all bets are off.

I have no real beef with their servers though. We use G5/G6/G7/Gen8 stuff currently and it's pretty solid. The only issue we've had recently has been weird networking issues with ESXi and it's been down to firmware on network adaptors every time.

I'm happy enough with HP that I won't be seeking products from alternative vendors for the time being.

I'd agree on the MSA disk shelves, they are awful. For low end stuff we typically go for the Lefthand iSCSI stuff (or FC now that it supports it) which is very good kit for the price. If you only need relatively low IOP then HP Lefthand is the way to go for sure. EVA gets a miss completely as it is awful, but the top-end 3par kit is very good.

That said 3par doesn't get much of a look-in these days when it is compared against NetApp. Price & features they win every time. Most common deployment for me seems to be NetApp storage & HP servers.

We're pretty large 3Par users - we'd invested in them before HP came on the scene. We've got three arrays and probably around 300TB total across them all. Support has certainly got a bit less good since HP came on the scene but largely they haven't messed with things too badly yet, and we still often get some 3Par guys who've been around since before HP came on the scene which is always reassuring. We're coming up on some SAN refresh pretty soon too and will be focussing again on 3Par, but maybe we should be looking at what NetApp are offering. Just that nagging feeling of "Better the devil you know", you know?

Dushmany said,
With how crap my experience has been with hp's products, I'd say microsoft isn't outright competition, as they probably blow hp clean out of the water as far as reliability goes.

LOL, Uuummm... Isn't HP making chrome tablets and laptops. Which means they don't really care about MS just profits no matter the price.

DarkNet said,
I have no issue with my HP Windows 7 Laptop. I also just purchased the Chromebook 11 White/Green.

My point was they are complaining that MS is becoming a competitor yet they are creating competition for MS. Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black.

yeah they compete to see who can create the biggest load of poo.

First HP try to lock Microsoft out of the loop with a "touchpad" running webos that failed miserably.

Next Microsoft release a "Surface" tablet (because hardware manufacturers aren't being innovative enough to support Windows 8) which fails and they take a $950m loss

Who's releasing the next big failure?

duk3togo said,

My point was they are complaining that MS is becoming a competitor yet they are creating competition for MS. Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black.

They aren't complaining as so much as stating a fact. When the Surface first came out, a lot of tech sites mentioned how Microsoft will be directly competing with OEMs. It isn't a complaint; It is a fact.

DarkNet said,

They aren't complaining as so much as stating a fact. When the Surface first came out, a lot of tech sites mentioned how Microsoft will be directly competing with OEMs. It isn't a complaint; It is a fact.

What I stated was a fact?! Its not an opinion but a fact. I don't see HP saying that Asus (who creates motherboards) that they are a direct competitor.

duk3togo said,

What I stated was a fact?! Its not an opinion but a fact. I don't see HP saying that Asus (who creates motherboards) that they are a direct competitor.

Yeah I know that. You are stating what you think is fact. But it isn't exactly fact. I never said anything about your statement. I said what HP was stating. Umm, I have no idea what comment you are replying to.

Microsoft was never a direct competitor. Asus was. They are stating that Microsoft is now a direct competitor. What is so hard to understand about this. Gesh.

There is a reason why All the major OEM (except for Dell, but I am sure if you are bright enough can figure out why) are selling Chromebooks.