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Hewlett-Packard remains committed to PC business

Vendor allays fears about the future of its PC business in the Middle East

Hewlett-Packard remains committed to PC business
Ziade wants channel partners to continue feeling comfortable and confident in buying HP PC hardware in the Middle East.

Hewlett-Packard Personal Systems Group (PSG) regional general manager Salim Ziade, has reiterated and assured partners in the Middle East that that the $126 billion technology giant remains committed to the health and growth of its PC business.

Ziade said in an interview with Channel Middle East that after the intended plan to spin-off the PC business was announced, PSG has moved swiftly in the region to allay any fears partners may have. “We have been communicating to our channel partners in the Middle East region in the last few days re-assuring them about our commitment to the PC business,” he said.

Ziade said majority of the partners that the PSG unit has reached out to have expressed positive sentiments and confidence in the PC business in the region and their willingness to continue working with HP during this period of transformation. “The HP board's decision to ‘evaluate strategic alternatives’ for the PSG business is not an indication to shutdown the $42 billion business. We made $2 billion in profits last year and we are still the number one PC vendor in the world,” he said.

Ziade said regardless of what the board decides, he would like to see the PSG division continue to transform itself especially now that the global PC market remains flat. “I certainly would like to see us accelerate investments in product novelty and advancement to market. I also would like us to speed up our performance in the areas of after-sales support and services to ensure that all customers that invest in our PC hardware enjoy the experience of being part of the HP ecosystem,” he said.

Ziade emphasised that HP is not taking its foot off the pedal now and will continue to drive leading innovation across its PC portfolio moving forward. He added that partners and customers alike in the Middle East can expect HP to continue the company’s strong and solid history of taking care of them. “We want our valued channel partners to feel comfortable and confident in buying HP just as they have, despite the uncertainty HP’s competitors might be stirring,” he affirmed.

Last week HP channel partners said they were taken by surprise at news that its board of directors had authorised the exploration of strategic alternatives for the PSG business. That includes looking at a broad range of options including a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

Dr Ali Baghdadi, chief executive officer at Aptec Holdings, a regional value added distributor, said HP PSG announcement does not come as a surprise at all. Baghdadi added that it has been known that the PC business makes little profit for HP and that the pressure on downward pricing would make it difficult to sustain the revenues. “HP does not own any significant intellectual property in this business unlike Apple. Far East and Asian companies can produce PCs at a lower cost,” he noted.

He explained that Aptec decided to move to value added distribution and solutions selling three years back.

Baghdadi said the possible acquisition of Autonomy by HP gives the IT industry an idea of the direction the vendor wishes to take. He believes HP would have to make other acquisitions to make a complete offering. “I see their focus on public and private cloud offerings and solutions becoming HP’s core business along with their printing and supplies business,” he said.

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