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HP PC boss: I'm so loving being spun off

Tablets? Pff. Dell? They speak with forked tongue

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HP's public statement that it will explore alternatives for its PC business has sent "ripples" across the entire organisation, according to a senior exec.

Todd Bradley, global chief of the Personal Systems Group, is on a tour of duty in the US to convince resellers, disties and customers that a spin-off is the best and "preferred" option for the HP division he runs and intends on continuing to lead after the event.

But he acknowledged in a US report that HP needs to get the situation resolved quickly, preventing further uncertainty that rivals are trying to exploit.

"We have got to get this done. We have got to settle the uncertainty in the marketplace broadly for HP. Not just for PSG. The uncertainty is causing ripples across our business.

"And we have worked too hard to build what we have to open doors for other people to come in," he told CRN US.

Bradley was unable to give guarantees that a spin-off will happen but argued the rationale is sound and would give PSG greater autonomy.

"For PSG to compete for capital with everything from software to routers to printers, it makes enormous amounts of sense for the company to spin out, raise its own capital, invest in the PC priorities and the channel priorities around personal computing," he said.

Some resellers are privately venting some frustration – others do not seem to fazed by the whole debacle – but HP is calling for patience amid suggestions that a change in ownership could mean an overhaul of programmes, including Partner One.

Dell, the world's second-largest PC seller, has wasted no time in trying to magnify the uncertainty surrounding HP's PC biz and Bradley was at pains to mention the direct-sales-only past of his arch rival, without specifically using the D-word.

"I am sure that there are lots of my competitors that are now the most channel-friendly people that we have ever seen in spite of the 20 to 30 year history of probably not being that open to working with the channel."

On the same day last month that HP confirmed it was considering future options for PSG, it canned the short-lived TouchPad. Bradley, like Acer, played down the role that fondleslabs will play in the market long term.

"I think tablets will be a segment of the personal computer business. I think we will look at it from a solution perspective. I think at the same time soon, say end of this year or the beginning of next year, the ultra-thin notebook is going to get some real legs to it," he said. ®

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