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Whitman has a number of challenges facing her, the solution provider said. HP has been wandering in some of its key markets, with a storage line that is long in the tooth, the public fight with Oracle that's turning HP customers away from HP servers, and the disruption caused by HP's decision to explore selling or spining off its Personal Systems Group (PSG), the solution provider said.
"The best thing we can do is to get to a decision on PSG as fast as possible," said Whitman, Thursday on a conference call with financial analysts. "This decision is not like fine wine. It is not going to get better with age. We have got to do the analysis, get to the decision and then tell our customers and the market what it is we are going to do."
Whitman should also consider canceling HP's decision to acquire U.K.-based Autonomy for over $10 billion, the solution provider said. "It's not necessarily a bad deal," the solution provider said. "If I were Whitman, I think I'd find a better way to spend the cash. Maybe invest more in PSG."
Whitman on the conference call said she will also review the Autonomy deal, though she noted, "From what I know now, I think the strategy is right and the initiatives we undertook on August 18 are right."
While Whitman's experience has primarily been in the consumer market, that does not necessarily mean she would not be able to lead HP, the solution provider said.
Apotheker sent mixed signals to channel partners recently, including a push a few months ago for partners to invest in mobility and tablet PCs and then last month deciding to kill its TouchPad tablet PC and get out of PCs, the solution provider said.
"To me, that is more disruptive to the channel than Meg's lack of channel experience," the solution provider said. "Meg has to stick to the nuts and bolts, and then she can do well. She has a lot of smart people there to advise her."
Paul Hilbert, principal at Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based HP partner Network Doctor, said Whitman is a "proven leader" and capable of taking the ball and running with it. Hilbert added, however, that there are several things Whitman should do off the bat to get partners excited about the "new HP."
"She should see what the community wants," he said. "That should be her first order of business. See what the partners want from her."
For his part, Hilbert said he wants more integration across product lines, and he wants HP to take a less buttoned-up approach. With Whitman's experience in consumer and entertainment, she should be able to take cues from market leaders like Apple and give HP's products a fresh coat of paint and make them more attractive to partners and customers, he said.
At the same time, Whitman has her work cut out for her, righting HP's massive tablet misstep which led it to discontinue the TouchPad tablet due to poor sales, despite some solid reviews, Hilbert said.
"The flop on the tablet needs to be fixed," he said. "They really got people excited about that."
Next: Make The Call On PSG