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Life after HP cracks off into two: Execs spill the beans – tiny little beans

HP Enterprise will be 'simpler, more focused' ... but what else?

HP execs Mike Nefkens, Antonio Neri, and Robert Youngjohns
HP execs Mike Nefkens, Antonio Neri, and Robert Youngjohns speaking at HP Discover 2015

HP Discover The theme of the opening keynote at the HP Discover conference on Tuesday was "Winning in the New Style of Business," but what the audience in Las Vegas really wanted to know was whether HP can really win by splitting into two companies.

That transition is expected to complete by the beginning of HP's fiscal 2016, which starts on November 1. Yet so far, precious few details have emerged as to how the new HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise will actually operate.

Unfortunately, Tuesday's talk left most of those questions still unanswered.

In her opening comments, CEO Meg Whitman said the talk would focus mainly on HP Enterprise – naturally enough, since she'll be the new firm's president and CEO. (She'll also chair the board of HP Inc, but that firm's chief exec will be Dion Weisler, who currently heads HP's PC and printer divisions.)

"Hewlett Packard Enterprise will be a lot more than the HP enterprise business with a new name," Whitman said – but after two hours of presentations, exactly how it will be still wasn't clear.

Transforming: More than meets the eye

According to Whitman, the new company's goal will be to help companies embrace what she calls "the new style of IT." How? By transforming them, natch.

"You have to pick a transformation partner with the vision and breadth to make the best possible future," Whitman said. "That is the mission of HP Enterprise."

OK, so what's that mean, then? In a nutshell, Whitman was talking about apps, mobile, and the cloud – all the new hotness. Companies have to embrace these technologies, she said, or they risk being left behind by modernized competitors.

By way of example, Whitman said car-hire service Uber has had a dramatic impact on the taxi industry in every market in which it operates, using little more than an app and a backend to power it. As a result, San Francisco alone has seen taxi ridership decline by 65 per cent in the last two years, she said.

"Did [the taxi industry] have time to respond? Absolutely," Whitman said. "Uber launched in 2009. But they needed IT infrastructure and they didn't have that. The taxi industry was still operating on CB radios."

Later in the dog-and-pony show, Mike Nefkens, executive veep of HP's Enterprise Services group, said there would soon be "apps frickin' everywhere" – a trillion of them running in 100 billion connected devices and things by 2020, he said.

But HP doesn't see apps alone as the future. Instead, it reckons most companies will have a mix of mobile apps, cloud infrastructure, traditional data centers and networks, and legacy applications – what HP is calling "hybrid infrastructure." And if your company isn't there already, HP wants to get it there – er, that is, transform it – ASAP.

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