Mark Hurd: Taking HP To New Heights

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd sat down with CRN Systems Editor Damon Poeter and Editorial Director Kelley Damore for an interview at HP's Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters in mid-March. Here is that interview in full.

DAMON POETER: So Mark, thanks for seeing us. We wanted to talk to you -- your time is obviously very precious and we wanted to cover a couple things -- maybe cut right to something that's on the minds of a lot of channel partners and that's what's happening with Cisco. You've got the converged infrastructure plan, you've got a strategy to sell the HP stack into the data center. It seems like Cisco may have been making more of the public rumblings so far, but I wanted to hear what you had to say about what's going on.

Quick Clicks: Talking With Hurd

MARK HURD: Well, we just see the networking opportunity in isolation as a big one for our customers. You know our history with ProCurve. We've had a very successful run with ProCurve. We've gained a material amount of share, both in ports and in revenue. We have announced our intent to acquire 3Com, which we think is a set of capabilities, end-to-end, that we think is going to be very impressive.

It's a market with good growth in it -- very high gross margins, which is the history of the prices that the current incumbents in the market charge. And we'll be very active in the market, so we're pretty excited about it.

That's one point. Additionally, we see in the future that what you think of today as a server, a storage device and a networking device, in some instances, can be converged and leveraged. We think that's why it's so important that HP has IP in all three of those areas -- the server environment, the storage environment and the networking environment -- and the combination of those three puts us in a position that really nobody else is in.

KELLEY DAMORE: Clearly there's this battle for the data center. And I think what we see is that our readers are in the middle of it. And I'm wondering what your message is to partners with regards to exclusivity, loyalty and selling HP's product portfolio rather than pieces. What would you say to partners in that regard?

HURD: Well, I think that we have a great channel. We heavily rely on the channel. We look at them as an extension of the HP sales force. Listen, it's always easier when you have a relationship that's quote-unquote exclusive. But I don't think our view is that the world has to be exclusive.

We're very comfortable in a co-opetive environment and have been for a very long time. I think that's one of the assets of dealing with HP. You know, we're used to partnering in all kinds of different environments to the optimal conclusion for a customer. Because at the end of the day, we've got to do things that help customers do things.

We choose to have the channel do a lot of that with us and for us. So I don't see any of that changing. Now we're going to try to go to the partner community, as we always have, and continue to grow our channel base. We've had good growth in the channel every year for the past four or five years. We don't expect that to change. And I think you should expect us to continue to try to convince the channel that there are a lot of advantages to being able to leverage all of our capabilities as opposed to just one.

So we think we've got a pretty compelling proposition for our partners and make no mistake about it, we're probably not just channel-friendly, I think we're channel zealots.


Next: M&A Opportunities?

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