Hewlett-Packard shows off new software

The Associated Press
Wednesday February 14, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — Pushing forward with its aggressive plan to be all things to all people in the high-tech world, Hewlett-Packard Co. showed off a new portfolio of Internet software for businesses Tuesday. 

Executives displayed 25 new software products with key ingredients companies need to conduct business online, such as usage-based billing – rather than by monthly fee – and management of data storage space. HP has signed on such large customers as Samsung and Delphi Automotive Systems. 

The launch was aimed at “the new center of gravity” in business computing, a “move from the do-it-yourself model to ‘Do it for me,”’ Carly Fiorina, HP’s chief executive, president and chairwoman, said in a videotaped address played in a darkened hotel ballroom. 

HP is rolling out its software initiative as key competitors such as IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. also are increasing their Web-based services. 

HP claims its main advantage is flexibility: Users can buy individual pieces of the software, which is designed to work with programs created by other companies. In fact, executives repeatedly described HP’s open-source software as a bridge between Sun’s Java-based applications and those created for Microsoft’s .Net strategy. 

The move will be a key test of how well Fiorina has reshaped HP since taking the helm in 1999.  

HP missed the boat on the beginning of the Internet explosion, and Fiorina has streamlined and “reinvented” the $48 billion mammoth in hopes of making it a nimble and indispensable New Economy player. 

Software accounts for more than $2 billion of HP’s annual revenue, but that still is less than 5 percent of the overall business, which is dominated by computer and printer sales. In comparison, 18 percent of all information-technology spending worldwide goes for software, said Salomon Smith Barney analyst John B. Jones Jr. 

“Other than their network monitoring software, they have a reasonably low profile in the software industry,” Jones said.  

“They’ve been trying to increase their software content, but as a percentage of the business it remains quite small.” 

Because of its global presence, HP believes its software business can grow as much as 30 percent to 35 percent per year, said Eric Buatois, general manager for marketing and strategy in the software division. 

The new software lineup includes updates on some existing products and new offerings made available by the company’s $450 million acquisition of Bluestone Software Inc. of Philadelphia last fall.  

Bluestone specializes in the software infrastructure, or “middleware,” necessary for business applications on the Internet. 


HP shares rose 60 cents Tuesday to $33.20 on the New York Stock Exchange. 


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