HP Exec Cho: Leading Hybrid Work and Gaming ‘Together’

‘We care about peripherals, not just because it’s another category where we’ve got a ton of upside. But in a more digital world, peripherals make that computing experience more immersive. It’s real. It’s tangible,’ says HP President of Personal Systems Alex Cho.


HP President Alex Cho (photo by Shane Snider)

Alex Cho was excited to see old friends face-to-face for the first time since the start of COVID-19. As HP’s president of personal systems, Cho was a featured speaker at the HP Amplify Executive Forum last week in Palo Alto, Calif.

“This is a reunion,” Cho told the audience of media, analysts and channel partners. “And this is so energizing because it’s an amazing computing opportunity … we do together.”

The company would only days later announce its finalization of the $3.3 billion Poly acquisition. Peripherals fall under Cho’s leadership umbrella and the company made clear that it intends to use the merger to gain more ground in hybrid work business. After posting quarterly earnings showing a big notebook slump, the company is pinning its hopes on the future of hybrid work office solutions.

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“We’re so excited about Poly because we can take the power of our PC management capability, Poly’s great technology for rooms and conferencing, and we can bring them together,” he said. “So, you can manage a room just like you manage a PC in one consolidated platform… That’s the power of HP coming together with Poly. We were meant to be together.”

Cho said despite troubled economic times, there is a massive opportunity for growth.

“Now I know that we look at the current situation and we see a lot of dynamic trends around the world with inflation and different types of headwinds,” Cho said. “Let me tell you what I see. I see a market that is structurally larger and growing into the future.”

He added, “The last time we were together three years ago, the market looking ahead is 50 percent larger. … Those are some big numbers. That’s not a big growth number on a small base. That’s a big number on top of a big number, which means half a trillion-dollar TAM [total addressable market].”

But it’s more than just the hybrid work business HP is after. “It’s hybrid learning, the way people see physicians now and get care—the way people connect,” he said. “The ambition in the ’80s was to get one PC to every household. Now, it’s one PC for every person and that’s a tremendous growth opportunity.”

Peripherals will be a big part of HP’s business going forward, especially with the completion of the Poly acquisition. “We care about peripherals, not just because it’s another category where we’ve got a ton of upside. But in a more digital world, peripherals make that computing experience more immersive. It’s real. It’s tangible. That’s why we care about it.”

Cho said innovation remains one of HP’s core values and is a guiding principle. “We are creating innovations for the world,” he said. “We stare at these products, we design these products, we build these products, and we hopefully get them to you faster. What makes this category so exciting is that it’s innovation that’s not just for innovation’s sake. What people need is for innovation that makes life better.”

While HP is focusing much energy on the growth potential of hybrid work, the company is also banking on recreation with gaming advances. “Gaming is such a huge opportunity,” Cho said, pointing to HP’s $425 million 2021 acquisition of gaming peripheral company HyperX. “And we’re bringing the pieces together to be the leader in gaming experiences. How do we do that? We do that by brining powerful PC experiences. The word is ‘rig.’ People want gaming rigs. HyperX taught us to watch and learn from gamers.”

Iron Bow Technologies CEO Rene LaVigne traveled to Palo Alto from Upper Marlboro, Va., for the partner event. He said HP’s drive to enhance hybrid work is crucial. “They first touched on the whole hybrid angle and what’s going on with society,” he said. “With that, it’s not just the workforce, it’s all of society—it’s how important technology is to society at large right now. Whether you’re a kindergartener or a college student or the intern or the new employee, we all need these services. And who better to drive this than a company like HP? I really enjoyed the content they put together.”