HP CEO's Head in the Clouds

By Cindy Waxer March 15, 2011

Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker has his head in the clouds – and his eyes sharply on the bottom line. As reported by Bloomberg, Apotheker announced this week at an event in San Francisco that the tech giant plans to launch a cloud-computing service that will allow developers to create applications using HP tools and that run on HP servers. What’s more, HP also plans to expand its WebOS footprint by pairing the mobile software with a wider assortment of products totaling more than 100 million devices a year.

An HP cloud service will pit the company against cloud computing rivals such as Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce. But that should be the least of HP’s concerns. As reported by TechZone360.com, earlier this month, HP released its quarterly earnings with mixed results. For the first fiscal quarter ending Jan. 31, 2011, net revenue of $32.3 billion was up 4 percent from the prior-year period. However, HP’s revenue growth failed to meet Wall Street’s goals, a reality that “raises questions about the momentum of the company’s transformation,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

"I'm pleased with our EPS and margin expansion during the quarter. Going forward, we have the opportunity to further capitalize on our customers' demands for higher value-added solutions," said Apotheker, in a statement. "HP has a powerful portfolio, including exciting, recently announced cloud and connectivity offerings. We are focused on leveraging these strengths to extend our leadership and accelerate growth."

And earlier this year, a committee of HP directors started an investigation into the reasons for its former CEO Mark Hurd’s departure from the company, according to a Reuters report.

The investigation begins as shareholder litigation involving the tech giant heats up. The committee of independent directors will be joined by outside lawyers, according to court filings unearthed by Reuters. HP’s board bid Hurd adieu amid allegations of sexual harassment in early August despite a lack of evidence backing up the allegations. However, an internal investigation revealed inaccurate expense reports. Hurd currently serves as a co-president at Oracle.

In December, TechZone360.com reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission began a probe into whether Hurd shared insider information about HP’s $13.9 billion acquisition of Electronic Data Systems Corp., with Jodie Fisher, a former HP event hostess, in 2008.

Last October, HP replaced ousted Hurd with Apotheker, an HP outsider and 57-year-old German who served as SAP AG CEO before leaving the software giant in the throes of faltering financial performance.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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