Top 7 Challenges Facing New HP CEO Apotheker

3. Combating A Cisco That Could Become Hurd-friendly

Under Hurd, HP changed from being Cisco's biggest networking reseller to being its most bitter rival after a string of increasingly competitive moves, including HP's recent acquisition of 3Com .

Hurd at Oracle has no bones to pick with Cisco. Indeed, with Oracle building its enterprise hardware-software stack, Hurd will likely become a new Cisco ally.

Of course, the alternate could happen. Oracle could acquire a networking vendor to help build its enterprise stack, starting yet another rivalry.

Assuming the former, Apotheker will need to keep an eye on how the Oracle-Cisco relationship develops and how that impacts HP's business. Oracle has big ambitions for the enterprise, and an alliance with Cisco could only be bad for HP.