HP: "We need to be more like Apple"

The big news about HP today was the announcement that it would be merging its printer and PC divisions, but Meg Whitman and company made some interesting statements at Wednesday's shareholder meeting as well. According to Electronista, someone had the guts (audacity?) to ask Whitman if she had a 'vision' like the late Steve Jobs.

Whitman said that it's important that HP focuses on being more 'disruptive' than 'evolutionary,' saying that the company has to “focus on doing a few things really well instead of giving everything just a little bit.” Whitman went on to hint at some 'big changes' coming to the company, but her other comments seem to suggest consolidation of its sprawling product line.

Overall, the questions shareholders posed for Whitman come across as pretty harsh and confrontational, and it's easy to understand why, considering the schizophrenic track record of HP's management. One complained about waiting 'two or three weeks' just to get his printer fixed, and told Whitman that HP should open retail stores, but Whitman seems focused on streamlining HP's online shopping experience.

Another one bashed HP's claims of innovation, dragging Steve Jobs into the conversation yet again. He said that Apple's products were “just better... years ahead of the competition,” while he could just walk down the street and buy something just as good as what HP offers.

Finally, Whitman said that even though “Steve Jobs is the business leader of our generation,” HP is either first or second in pretty much every business, and just needs to improve and do a better job of meeting users' exact needs. Still, she said, “we all have to applaud Apple for its success.” Pretty classy, huh?


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