HP CFO: 'We're Happy With Channel Mix'

Speaking at the annual Raymond James and Associates Supply Chain Conference in New York, HP CFO Bob Wayman said the company is pleased with its mix of direct and channel progress but will continue to fine-tune terms and conditions as it sees fit. In particular, the tech giant is happy with its push to increase attach rates to sell complementary products, Wayman said in an on-stage interview with Brian Alexander, executive vice president of equity research for St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James.

"We introduced changes to get a better balance of sell-through. You won't get the same compensation if you sell bare-bones units than if they're filled with certain accessories. The changes were a benefit to some, not liked by a few, but we are happier with our business through the channel than before we implemented these changes," he noted.

"Terms and conditions are an ongoing process. We will continue to respond to the competitive landscape, in terms of what other OEMs are doing with their partners. This will never be done. We will continue look at what makes sense," he told the audience of money managers in attendance.

HP is the "ultimate multichannel company" and will continue to operate using solution providers, retailers and its direct sales force, Wayman said. "We want to have healthy channels in all directions. What we're doing right now is asking what is our market share with this customer or this class of customer. We don't care if they're serviced by the channel or direct, as long as we get the market share in that space."

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Dell remains "a very strong competitor," he said, despite recent stumbles which led the vendor to back out of speaking at the Raymond James and other events. In the past, Dell's CFO has spoken at this conference.

"They are particularly strong in the U.S. desktop commercial business. That's their core. They are probably two or three times better than us in that space. Flip it around to us, we are stronger in consumer and retail," Wayman said.

"We've said all along as notebooks become more popular, they're more personal. Consumers would rather touch and feel rather than buying sight unseen. That doesn't play as well in the Web or phone model that Dell has," he said.