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HP's Fiorina stood up by Argentina's President

Belly bands and three-legged stools

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HP World Our first HP tidbit comes not from the HP World conference being held here this week but from a couple of South American papers.

This information is a tad stale, but was missed entirely by US and European tech press corps and so deserves a mention a now. It turns out that during a recent visit to South America, HP's CEO Carly Fiorina was snubbed by Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner. Fiorina was forced to wait between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on the report, for a meeting with Kirchner. After the Prez failed to show in that time, Fiorina tucked away her notebook and made a run for the door. In the end, the two powers never met.

"Kirchner should never stand up any lady for nearly an hour and least of all the superpower's most famous businesswoman when he himself is the CEO of a country in default," wrote the Buenos Aires Herald. "Kirchner's poor punctuality deserves to be made an issue because it is a constant."

Given Fiorina's ties to the Bush administration and suspected political ambitions, it might have been in Kirchner's best interests to give the pink slip princess a nod and a hello.

Now on to the show.

Carly, can you hear me?

Fiorina was noticeably absent from the HP World conference. Just a week before the show, HP posted disappointing third quarter results that left many wondering what the company would do to right itself. A speech from the eloquent and convincing Fiorina may have helped assure the HP customer base that all is proceeding as planned.

Instead, HP only sent in Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group, to deliver a keynote. Livermore is typically an able hand, but she let down the HP World audience this year by ignoring the issues facing HP and delivering an extended advertisement instead.

In the past, HP has sent in the heads of its software, hardware, services and R&D divisions to address HP World, but it has been slim pickings this year.

The power of belly bands

Major players such as Oracle, Microsoft, Intel and AMD dominated the HP World sponsorships with their fancy banners placed all around the conference grounds. By contrast, Linux fighter SCO suffered through a less impressive demonstration of HP love.

SCO paid for what is flatteringly called a "program guide belly band" or simply a wrapper around the middle of the HP World press kits. The ad urges attendees to "come see the power of Unix at booth #733." Now, if HP had equipped the press room with a scanner - er, there wasn't even a printer - we would deliver a picture of the SCO commercial. Instead, you'll have to imagine two white toast staffers sitting at a conference table and looking intently at what appears to be an iPod or a PDA. If you were searching for the power of Unix, you would not find it in this picture.

Sun eclipsed by security

Speaking of iPods, Sun Microsystems attempted a guerilla marketing campaign at HP World with Apple's device. Sun representatives were handing out buttons touting Solaris on Opteron with the intention of giving one lucky winner a day an iPod if they were seen with the badges on at HP's show.

As we understand it, security caught on to these plans on Monday and kindly escorted the Sun staffers from the premises. Sun apparently made a second run today, but we've yet to see anyone wearing a badge. These are the HP faithful after all.

You're marvellous

Speaking of the HP faithful, a customer by the name of John Witte was elected to the Interex Hall of Fame. Interex is the large and active HP user group. We're told that Witte is the most extraordinary Dutch HP user of all time.

Quotes of the Week

"If you look at HP's go-to-market model, it really is like a three-legged stool," Mark Gonzalez, HP's VP of servers and storage.

"We have to continue to work on the language, so that (our Indian call center staff) can be understood," Bob Floyd, HP's VP of customer services. ®

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