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WebOS is an unbelievable attractive technology that provides seamless connectivity between user devices, Apotheker said. HP plans to ship WebOS first on dedicated devices including HP smart phones and the HP Tablet, which will be available in June. HP is also developing a version which customers can access via the Web by year-end, after which WebOS will be loaded on all HP's end user devices, including PCs and printers.
However, Apotheker said, the introduction of WebOS does not mean HP is abandoning its long-term relationship with Microsoft. "Our relationship with Microsoft was strong, is strong, and will remain strong," he said. "There is no question of that...We will be shipping Windows-based PCs with WebOS. Our tablets will be based on WebOS. And on Windows 7."
The third part is software, where HP is a leader in providing management and security, and can provide an open cloud marketplace, Apotheker said. However, this does not mean that HP has to provide such applications as ERP and others that are already provided by partners. "To be clear, we don't need to own a big, transactional operation," he said.
To illustrate HP's software capabilities, Apotheker invited Martin Fink, senior vice president and general manager of Business Critical Systems at HP, to the stage to introduce a new business analytics appliance based on Vertica, a developer of tools for analyzing huge volumes of data, which HP acquired last month.
The Vertica appliance, which will be available as software, a service, and as a physical appliance, manages unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data in such a way as to provide real-time analysis of the data as it is being loaded, Fink said. "Only Vertica has the ability to load business data and analyze it at the same time," he said.
The physical appliances are being delivered in quarter-rack, half-rack, and full-rack configurations which can be combined into larger systems, Fink said. "Keep in mind, none of these systems existed a few weeks ago," he said.
The Vertica technology can be used to provide real-time data to systems for use in transactions, Fink said. For instance, he cited the example of a car rental company which traditionally based its rental price on data which may have been updated a month or more earlier. With real-time analytics, Fink said, the rental price can reflect the driver's driving record, the day's weather, and even how risk is impacted by the earthquake in Japan.