The world's largest supplier of IT products and services said its expects that revenue for the quarter ended Oct. 31 jumped 19 percent and earnings grew 4 percent. HP shares were up 10 percent or $2.96 to $32.31 in midday trading on the good news.
HP gave no details on specific product segments or geographies but said its revenue for the period ended Oct. 31 reached $33.6 billion, a 19 percent jump over year-earlier sales. For the year, net revenue was up 13 percent to $118.4 billion. The sales figures exclude the impact of HP's recent acquisition of EDS.
Here are five reasons HP is outperforming the market.
1. HP CEO Mark Hurd
He isn't infallible or the new Messiah, but he is pretty darn good. He's made a string of key acquisitions this year, capped off by EDS and LeftHand Networks. But his most important trait is that he's constantly visiting and listening to customers. And he keeps his closest counsel with his biggest customer: the channel. Hurd regularly makes one-on-one visits to solution providers both large and small. He asks questions. He listens. He motivates. No other CEO of a major technology company keeps as close to the channel as Hurd.
2. HP's Diverse Product Portfolio
From the desktop to the data center. From printers to routers. From network management to asset management software. HP products span the technology spectrum. At $118 billion, this is truly a one-stop shop. And now with its $13.9 billion acquisition of services giant EDS, HP has the people power and services muscle to do it all. Take note that even with the biggest and broadest portfolio in the business and a boatload of services people, HP embraces the channel. Bottom line: HP gets that it's a solutions game. And solutions means channel.
3. Committed Channel
HP has worked hard over the past several years to hone its channel strategy to focus on a mutually profitable relationship with solution providers. It hasn't always succeeded or delivered on its promises, but it's shown a willingness to fix things on the fly rather than letting channel problems fester. it is the biggest and yet it is the most channel-cognizant. One big reason is that Hurd views the channel as an extended sales force. He understands sales and he wants his partners out there in the front lines winning over new customers.
4. Maniacal Focus On Profitable Growth
No other company right now has a sharper focus on profitable growth than HP. Hurd is closing out his fourth year at the company and his drive and determination to do things more efficiently and profitably in everything HP does has resulted in a new and more inventive HP. That "profitable growth" mantra has everyone at HP working toward a common goal. It's a, 'Hit your number or hit the road,' proposition. That is a good thing, especially as we come into what looks like the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Look for HP to buck the trend and beat the bad news blues.
5. Full Speed Ahead With R & D
Based on his long list of acquisitions, some observers might think Hurd's R&D budget consists in snapping up smaller, innovative companies. Not so. HP has remained on top of the technology heap in part because of its willingness to invest in product innovation. The company's multibillion-dollar R&D effort and the company's cultural legacy of building better products is a huge differentiator. HP products are more often than not better engineered, designed and performing than the competitive product sets. Take Blades. "Blade everything" isn't just a marketing slogan at HP; it's a technology commitment.
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