HP's turnaround plan: slimmer line & lots of tablets

Sometimes we like to poke fun at HP for its confused management and weird business decisions, but Meg Whitman is working hard to put things back together, and promises to have HP back up and running at full speed by 2014.  How, exactly? Well, when it comes to consumer strategy, it involves less PCs, less printers, and more tablets. And we all know how well HP does tablets.

A lot of Whitman’s strategy for turning HP around involve enterprise markets, whether it’s competing with IBM with hardware and software, or just hawking its cloud solutions, but consumers aren’t left in the dark. Besides consolidating the PC and printer division, HP wants to simplify its PC line by reducing the number of models by 25% over the next 2 years. That reduction in choice – not necessarily a bad thing, if your product line is as diverse as HP’s – is even more marked when it comes to printers, which are supposed to be consolidated by 30% by 2014.

But don’t worry, the specter of HP dumping its PC business isn’t rearing its head again; they’re just trying to make their product line more attractive by pruning it. There are plenty of new items on the way, too, mainly in the form of tablets. Not shying away from the market because of previous forays, HP’s turnaround strategy puts the spotlight on the HP ElitePad 900, its upcoming tablet aimed at businesses. At the same time, they say they’re ‘reinvesting in mobility with a dedicated leadership team.’

Despite all their talk of the rosy future, HP still has a long way to go before it’s out of the woods, and investors aren’t known for their patience. Whitman needs to do everything in her power to turn things around, and the sooner, the better. Their lack of optimism for the coming year isn’t going to do much to help with investor outlook, either. For now, all technophiles – and especially investors - can do is keep a close eye on HP, and hope that they come up with something either cool enough – or just good enough – to capture the world’s attention.

Source: HP | Via CNN | Image via Wikipedia

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11 Comments

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I can't say that I'm in a rush to any further products from HP, especially after my experience with the HP Touchpad which I purchased during their fire-sale and has received little support in the year since. The way that HP handled that situation and many of their decisions in the past year doesn't make me confident that they're a company I want to invest my money in.

Consumers may find Windows 8-based tablets a hard choice, especially if they're coming in at a $1000 price point when Android tablets can be found for $100-$500 and Apple iPads for $400-$700. Both also have app stores with an extensive libraries that far exceed what Microsoft has for Windows 8. Plus at that price it's hard to justify a tablet when you can buy a low-cost laptop or even an Ultrabook for the same price or less.

Did you really expect ongoing support for a Fire-sale device...they had discontinued and dropped support for the device...that's why it was on fire-sale.
As for pricing who knows, nothings been confirmed...its an enterprise tablet though not a consumer one so probs will be at the higher price points like a iPad.

Unlucky mate, I am thankfully safe from cuts, but Megs strategy seems to me to be a good one on the face of it.. cutting down the number or printers and PC's makes it easier for consumers to understand which one they want and should cut our manufacturing costs a bit I presume.
The X2 and ElitePad 900 are steps in the right direction and will hopefully go well.

Be interesting to see what we do with regards to the Phone that Meg kinda hinted at the other week. I'm hoping for a Windows phone 8 corp style device to Kill RIM and take over the enterprise market.

Let's also not forget that a big part of HPs strategy for turn around is to lay off a lot of staff. Nearly 30,000 worldwide. Me being one of them.

They not only need to prune several PC models but several printer models as well. I understand the idea of giving users options at different price points but all they do is try to add a slight difference, boot the cost and completely confuse the customers. Add to that some of the ridiculous overlap for sale prices and most customers walk out not knowing which was is up.

If HP thinks the tablet market is doing to be a turning point they had better damn well learn a lesson from the feedback they got from the touchpad. I think they had some great ideas with webOS but the didn't execute on the hardware side and certainly didn't plan very well on the software side. If they had released it early in the game with andorid market support maybe, but they got on-board far to late in the game. If this latest release is an indicator of what they are planning then sad to say they are going down that dead end road again.

Completely agree. I'm reminded of the consumer "experience" as I just went to their site to "custom build" a high end desktop. Limited choices and much higher prices than I could realize by just building it myself, which was the opposite of what I expected.

I've owned several laptops from HP and the quality was excellent and price points were reasonable. But they just don't go far enough in areas that they could to win people over in large enough numbers.

This latest move smacks of desperation and we've all seen it before, maybe they'll get lucky, mobile market will be larger and they are positioned to win there, buy they've also squandered the same advantage in other markets, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

I see nothing but more pain for HP. Tablets are a niche market. Consumers are never going to dump their desktop/laptops for a tablet, no matter how much Microsoft wants Windows 8 to be the next big driver for hardware upgrades (like most of the earlier windows "upgrades" required you to upgrade your hardware).

Vista was the first O/S to break the OS/Hardware upgrade pairing, and Vista was a total failure. Windows 8/Tablets are the next failure.

dvb2000 said,
I see nothing but more pain for HP. Tablets are a niche market. Consumers are never going to dump their desktop/laptops for a tablet, no matter how much Microsoft wants Windows 8 to be the next big driver for hardware upgrades (like most of the earlier windows "upgrades" required you to upgrade your hardware).

Vista was the first O/S to break the OS/Hardware upgrade pairing, and Vista was a total failure. Windows 8/Tablets are the next failure.

I don't see where MS is trying to make Windows 8 a big driver for hardware updates, at least not the way it was with Vista. They might be trying to push the touch market more but for most users I don't think that's going anywhere. If we start seeing a large influx of low cost touchscreen monitors hit the market then you might see higher adoption but for now most people just aren't drawn to touch screen PCs.

dvb2000 said,
I see nothing but more pain for HP. Tablets are a niche market. Consumers are never going to dump their desktop/laptops for a tablet.

Unit sales of tablets in the UK matched the number of laptops sold in August. That's not a "niche market", that's a huge market opportunity that HP currently aren't represented in. I agree people aren't going to dump their computers - but the risk is that people with desktops don't buy a laptop, but rather a tablet instead. HP has a decent share in laptops, but not in tablets. Thus they'd only see a decline, and therefore need to act.

Based on the woes I had recently of trying to print double-sided using an HP printer, and was reminded just how bad consumer printing still is - I'd rather buy a slate than ever print anything else again.

cleverclogs said,
Based on the woes I had recently of trying to print double-sided using an HP printer, and was reminded just how bad consumer printing still is - I'd rather buy a slate than ever print anything else again.

There's no reason to buy consumer anymore. Workstation printers have really come down in price. By that, I mean built-in duplexer, Ethernet connection, web UI, drivers with a gazillion options.