Meg Whitman Buffs Up HP’s Past And Future

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In HP’s 75th year, Meg Whitman sported HP’s 1977 wearable computer and promised a turnaround

HP‘s CEO Meg Whitman extolled HP’s past successes, and promised great things for the future, while glossing over the tech giant’s present difficulties, in a keynote for HP Discover which made much of the company’s 75 year history.

The company is executing increasing redundancies in a turnaround plan – but Whitman’s only reference to its performance was a mention of recent positive quarterly results. Solid tech prospects and a return t0 HP’s roots was what she was in Las Vegas to talk about on Tuesday, and what an audience of several thousand HP customers and partners wanted to hear.

75 years of innovation

z meg whitman HP discove 2014 image bt Peter JudgeAdmitting the company faced lots of challenges, she said these are “opportunities” and only underlined the urgent requirement for change. Rolling out the company’s current slogan, she said: “We need the New Style of IT.”

This was not a barnstorming performance, but that’s what the HP faithful want. After three CEOs who were each disastrous in their different ways, they want someone who is not going surprise them.

Whitman listed HP’s achievements since Hewlett and Packard founded it in a garage in 1939, with an impressive array of firsts, including pocket calculators and RISC processors and blades.

She also claimed some firsts by acquisition, including Compaq’s creation of the x86 standard server market.

Meg Whitman HP calculator watch 1977 HP Discover 2014 image by Peter JudgeWhitman revealed she was sporting a 1977 HP calculator watch, claiming it was “the first wearable”.

Then she handed over to lieutenants such a Bill Veghte to lay out the big announcements from the Discover event.

These included the Apollo water-cooled supercomputer, and SDN announcements for the cloud, as well as Atalla’s encryption management.

The only glamour in the whole performance was from storage chief David Scott, who commanded bursts of lightning every time he used the word “Flash” predicting it would displace hard drives.

Industry veteran Robert Youngjohns, vice president of software, predicted a growth in analytics, as both machine generated data and human generated unstructured data overtake the volumes of traditional business data in organisations. HP’s HAVEn strategy (Hadop, Autonomy, Vertica, Enterprise Security for n applications) was the only mention of HP’s troubled acquisition of Autonomy, another blot on HP’s landscape.

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