HP Exec Explains Recent Acquisition Feeding Frenzy

Hewlett-Packard has been busily filling in gaps in its technology portfolio, investing heavily in R&D and snapping up promising technologies through acquisitions. With the technology pieces now place, HP is turning to its channel partners to help grab market share from competitors in the coming year.

In a keynote speech Monday at the opening of Ingram Micro's North American VentureTech Network (VTN) Fall 2010 Invitational in San Francisco, Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Systems Group, Americas, said by year's end HP will have more than 80 percent coverage in every market in which it competes, from the enterprise all the way down to the consumer level.

HP, which this year has added Palm, 3PAR, Arcsight and others to its technology arsenal, wants partners to know that there are no half-measures in its outlook. "The strategy is simple: We're filling in the holes in our portfolio," DeWitt told the audience of roughly 700 attendees. "The stuff we have coming down the line over the next few quarters is going to dazzle you."

In the past five years HP has invested $15 billion in R&D and roughly $30 billion in acquisitions, and the fruits of this spending are just about ripe, DeWitt said.

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"If there is an end-to-end play, we want to be able to offer best in class. In any market where we're going to compete, we're going to drive the industry's more aggressive portfolio, as measured by R&D investment and market coverage," DeWitt said.

Next: HP says 2011 year of SMB opportunity

2011 is shaping up to be a year full of opportunity for HP's SMB partners, especially those that serve the approximately 12.5 million small businesses in the U.S, which represent a total addressable market of around $62 billion, DeWitt noted. HP's Personal Systems Group is growing at two times the market rate, and HP is looking for partners to help go after this opportunity, he added.

"We picked up 8 points of share against Dell in the past year," DeWitt said of HP's SMB market expansion. "This is a lucrative part of the market for us, as tens of millions of client devices will be refreshed or implemented this year."

HP is also building the infrastructure behind the scenes to help partners do business more efficiently. DeWitt said HP is beefing up its PartnerOne program to better support SMB partners, and beginning Nov. 1, will offer between $4,000 and $10,000 per partner for marketing development and training.

"We're zealots when it comes to the channel," DeWitt said. "You can't do this alone."

DeWitt offered a glimpse of HP's plans for webOS, which the company picked up in its May acquisition of Palm. Developer interest in webOS has spiked since the deal was announced, and HP sees webOS as one of the pillars of its cloud computing strategy, DeWitt said.

Next: Where cloud computing is headed"Storage is going to be in the cloud, and content is going be in the cloud. Everything with a digital heartbeat is going to be connected, and the way we're going to connect it all together is webOS," he said.