HP has battled IBM as well as now-private Dell and China’s Lenovo in trying to win business from enterprises migrating to the cloud, or remote computing services. Whitman said on HP‘s earnings call Thursday, Lenovo’s imminent purchase of IBM’s low-end server division presented an opportunity for HP to try and win market share, especially in the near term, given that customers tended to avoid uncertainty about a supplier’s product roadmap.
“We have a near-term opportunity to gain share in our server business. We’re all over it with our channel partners,” she said. But “in the long term, Lenovo is going to be a powerful competitor.” Look for HP to argue that Lenovo will have integration challenges with integrating IBM’s x86 server business and note IBM’s retooling.
The company posted a 16% rise net earnings of $1.4 billion in the first quarter, compared to $1.2 billion a year ago. Excluding items, it earned 90 cents a share, better than the 84 cents analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of HP gained a penny to $30.20 after hours, from a close of $30.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.
“HP is in a stronger position today than we’ve been in quite some time, Whitman said in a statement.
“Rest assured, we’re not taking our foot off the pedal,” she told analysts later on a conference call. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
HP is the world’s largest maker of personal computers, but demand for its core desktop computers has slumped in recent years.
It has been attempting to move away from its reliance on personal computers in preference for computing equipment and servers to help run data centres.
The US giant said that the past two years of job cuts and restructuring efforts were starting to pay off.
Whitman, who took the helm of the HP more than a year ago, has said she expects revenue to stabilize in 2014, with some areas of growth for the company.
On Thursday, Whitman stuck to that outlook and told Reuters she was upbeat on HP’s European business as the developed part of that region stabilized, and she said she saw strength in emerging markets like India and Mexico. She added that HP’s business in China stayed largely flat, better than competitors had fared.
The PC business didn’t suck nearly as bad as feared, and Hewlett-Packard’s first quarter benefits. The company sees strong enterprise demand for PCs as Windows XP systems are tossed.