HP's Meg Whitman: Microsoft Used To Be Our Partner But Is Now Our Competitor

Meg Whitman speakingHPHP CEO Meg Whitman

Hewlett Packard is talking to Wall Street analysts today, giving an update on the company’s multi-year turnaround that has been filled with drama but not with growth.

We had noticed in May, when HP’s earnings included a whopping 20% dip in revenues for the PC business, Whitman began distancing HP from Microsoft Windows.

At that time, she had played up HP’s non-Windows devices during a conference call with analysts, its Android tablet and Chromebooks. She said the new strategy was “multiple operating systems, multiple architectures and multiple form factors. We are moving quickly to produce the devices that customers want.”

That was a dig against Windows 8 and an about-face from her earlier praise of Microsoft’s new operating system. In January 2012, she said about Windows 8: “We have to stick with this. I am a believer.”

Then HP reported earnings in August, and another 11% dive in the PC business. Plus, it had to admit that total revenues were not going to start growing in its fiscal 2014 as promised, a blow to Whitman’s credibility.

On Wednesday, she blamed some of HP’s growth problems on Microsoft and Intel:

“HP’s traditional highly profitable markets face significant disruption. Wintel devices are being challenged by ARM-based devices. … We are seeing profound changes in the competitive landscape. … Current partners like Intel and Microsoft are turning from partners to outright competitors.”

It’s not just words. Whitman has been backing this up with action, getting cozier with Microsoft’s biggest rival Google. Yesterday, HP and Google announced another new Chromebook, a computer that costs on $US279 and has a really nice screen.

Microsoft angered its PC partners like HP by creating its Surface family of PCs that compete with them. It also loaned Dell $US2 billion as part of its deal to go private and just bought Nokia’s device business for $US7 billion.

Intel is competing with HP in several enterprise businesses like cloud computing and computer security.

Microsoft’s and Intel’s loss is turning into Google’s gain.

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