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HP CEO Weisler: 'Highly Differentiated' Security Approach Is Paying Off

The company has been seeing a boost in its commercial PC sales due to its innovation efforts in cybersecurity, Weisler said.

HP Inc. is seeing "strong" demand for its commercial personal systems thanks in large part to investments in developing new cybersecurity capabilities, CEO Dion Weisler said Thursday.

For HP's second fiscal quarter of 2019, which ended April 30, commercial net revenue from personal systems rose 7 percent from the same period a year earlier, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company reported.

[Related: The Top 10 Partner Takeaways From HP Reinvent 2019]

During a conference call with reporters and analysts on Thursday, Weisler said that "we've been investing in security in the company across the board--not just in PCs but in print as well."

"It's really important for us in both printing and personal systems. We think it's highly differentiated," Weisler said, in response to a question from CRN. "Our customers believe it is--that's why demand for our products is really strong. And our partners understand it as well."

Weisler said that just this week he took part in a private meeting with the CEO of a major bank, who admitted that cybersecurity was his "No. 1 fear."

"No. 1--beyond tariffs, beyond macroeconomic issues. He said, ‘No. 1, it's cyber.’ We felt this a long time ago," Weisler said. "It's an ongoing battle against the bad guys, but we're investing heavily in this space."

One of HP's newest features in PC security, Sure Sense malware protection software, "is another great example of that," he said.

With Sure Sense, "we're leveraging AI to really go beyond where the industry currently is--which relies on known [malware] signatures--to being able to learn for itself without knowing the signatures," Weisler said. "If you see the demonstration of our technology versus the others, side by side [with] the market leaders today, it's really super impressive."

Sure Sense uses deep-learning technologies to learn what malware looks like and shut the threats down instantly, according to HP. Among the first PCs to get Sure Sense are four notebooks in HP's EliteBook 800 series, which is targeted at corporate workers.

Sure Sense builds on HP's efforts to secure its PC portfolio against a variety of security threats, including BIOS attacks (with Sure Start), browser malware (with Sure Click) and visual hacking (with Sure View).

HP "has made their stand on being the most secure vendor in the market space" with Sure Sense, said Juan Fernandez, vice president of managed IT services at Oklahoma City, Okla.-based ImageNet Consulting.

"They are coming out swinging for the fences on this thing. There's nobody else doing this," Fernandez said.

Once Sure Sense rolls out more broadly, "I do believe it will lead to additional PC sales” for ImageNet, Fernandez said.

Quarterly Results

While revenue was flat year-over-year for HP's fiscal Q2, at $14.04 billion, the personal systems business enjoyed growth driven by commercial sales.

Personal systems revenue rose 1.8 percent to $8.92 billion, up from $8.76 billion during the same period a year earlier. The results were constrained by a 9-percent decrease in consumer personal systems sales.

Total notebook revenue declined 1 percent year-over-year to $5.01 billion, but desktop revenue rose 7 percent to $2.94 billion and the workstation business was up 6 percent, to $569 million.

In print, for the second quarter in a row sequentially, HP’s print supplies revenue dropped 3 percent from the same period a year earlier. Revenue from print supplies fell to $3.33 billion during HP's fiscal Q2, the company reported. HP executives have previously attributed the supplies drop to sales shifting online among commercial customers.

Commercial print hardware was a brighter spot, however, with revenue climbing 3 percent to reach $1.18 billion during the quarter.

Overall, print revenue fell to $5.12 billion during HP's fiscal second quarter, down 2 percent from $5.24 billion the year before.

Non-GAAP net earnings during HP's fiscal Q2 rose to $821 million, or 53 cents per diluted share. That’s up from $798 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, during the same period a year earlier.

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