HP Targets Apple IT Consumerization With Windows 8 Blitz

Hewlett-Packard is poised to mount a massive product and sales offensive around Windows 8 aimed at taking the wind out of rival Apple’s momentum, which is being driven in large part by the consumerization of IT.

This fall, HP will launch a massive product and channel sales offensive around Windows 8 aimed at challenging Apple on a number of fronts, HP Director of Americas Channel Marketing Matt Smith told CRN Tuesday.

’It is going to be disruptive with the balance between Microsoft and Apple,’ said Smith in an interview at the XChange 2012 conference at the Gaylord Texas in Dallas, Texas. ’It is going to be disruptive in favor of Microsoft’s solutions driving to the cloud with multiple products. You are going to see more and more products, more and more variety, all relying on the Windows 8 cloud environment. And, HP is going to do it better than everybody else. We believe this is the tipping point of a massive refresh cycle.’

[Related: CRN's Exclusive Coverage Of XChange 2012 ]

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Microsoft has promised that Windows 8 will be generally available at the end of October. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, for his part, declared that Windows 8 marks a turning point of sorts in the innovation battle against Apple.

"We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple," Ballmer told CRN last month in an exclusive interview.

Smith declined to provide details on HP's Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks but stressed that HP has already begun its consumerization of IT march by adding enterprise capabilities to some of its consumer notebook line.

Specifically, Smith pointed to HP’s Envy Pro consumer laptop, which is available with Windows 7 Professional and includes a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip, additional manufacturing quality and reliability and a three-year warranty, up from only a single-year warranty.

"We’ve put all the IT specifications in the cool, whiz-bang consumer products you like," Smith told CRN. "Consumerization of IT is going to be big. People are going to bring more products [to work] that are personalized to them."

NEXT: HP Plans 12 City US Road Show To Demonstrate Its Windows 8 Prowess

To that end, HP has taken its consumer and commercial product teams and merged them together as a result of combining the printer and personal systems group into a new Printer Personal Systems division, said HP's Smith. ’This PPS integration is huge,’ he said describing the benefits of the combined group.

HP’s PPS is planning a 12 city U.S. road show starting Oct. 16 that will bring together key partners and customers to experience firsthand HP’s Windows 8 products. HP is also planning four road shows for Canada, two in Mexico and two in Brazil.

’We are going to go kick in the market on this one,’ said Smith of the HP Windows 8 offensive. ’We are going big. A lot of money on this one.’

Smith said he sees Windows 8 ’reinvigorating’ HP and its partners. ’I think you are going to see an explosive adoption rate of Windows 8,’ he said. ’On top of that you are going to see an explosion in the number of devices that are out there. People that have a notebook will now have a tablet and a notebook and a phone, what you call four screens. You are going to see more devices and a shift back to Microsoft.’

Smith also predicted that the new wave of Windows 8 consumerization of IT devices will drive a faster adoption of Windows 8 in businesses.

’All of these devices are going to be out there, and people are going to bring them to the office and tell the IT people to hook them up,’ he said. ’IT is going to have those [new Windows] devices in their environment sooner than they ever have before because of the consumerization of IT. People bringing in Windows 8 [devices] are going to force an earlier and faster adoption of Windows 8. I think it is going to be huge.’