If Apotheker brings anything to HP, it’s a deep understanding of, and expertise in, software. After all, he comes from SAP, which only helped him improve his software prowess. Going forward, expect HP to focus heavily on software because of that.
HP is perhaps best known as a PC company. And yet, Apotheker isn’t bringing much PC knowledge to the table. That’s not good news for the enterprise or consumers that rely upon HP for their computing needs. However, that doesn’t mean that HP will absolutely see its PC market share decline. But it does mean that, over time, the company could have trouble responding to changes in the market.
Apotheker has spent his career focusing mainly on enterprise software solutions. For HP’s software-services division, that’s a good thing. But it could be damaging to the company’s consumer business. After all, Apotheker will be forced to face Steve Jobs in the consumer market. And few people believe he has the ability to even come close to competing with Apple’s CEO.
Apotheker is undoubtedly bringing a desire to delegate to HP. After all, as someone who knows little about the PC business or consumer electronics, how could he not want to delegate his responsibilities in those areas to those who know the space far better than he does? Look for some serious delegation to happen at HP over the coming months.
Since Apotheker knows little about consumer electronics, it’s safe to say that HP’s focus will turn towards the enterprise. As the ultimate decision-maker at HP, he will guide the company’s direction going forward. And since he knows more about the enterprise than any other space, it would only make sense that he spend most of his company’s efforts there.
Mark Hurd was a special CEO. He valued the channel, he understood the enterprise, and he had a strong desire to double down on HP’s consumer services. He was simply the all-around CEO that HP needed to help it overcome the Fiorina days. But Apotheker is not that all-around CEO. And that could come back to haunt the company.
Look for HP to acquire a slew of companies in the coming months. As mentioned, Apotheker knows his way around enterprise software. And right now, HP’s software services are not where they should be. With his guidance, the company will likely start buying up the better offerings in the space to bolster its operation.
HP said that a handful of candidates were up for the CEO job, and many of those folks were inside the company. And yet, the board chose Apotheker. Such decisions tend to cause bad blood as candidates that felt they were qualified don’t get the job. That bad blood translates into serious turnover. In other words, expect a much different management team at HP next year.
Mark Hurd was instrumental in making the channel a key component in HP’s success. He often sat in on sales meetings to ensure his company was doing everything it could to appeal to its customers. But as mentioned, Apotheker is a different kind of CEO. And he might not see such value in those relationships. At this point, we’ll have to wait and see.
Leo Apotheker brings the unknown to HP. Unlike so many other companies in the industry, HP delivers a slew of different services that require business savvy and a clear understanding of a dizzying array of customers. Mark Hurd had that savvy and understanding. Carly Fiorina did not. And now the onus is on Apotheker to prove that he does, as well. Whether or not he will is anyone’s guess.