AUG 12, 2010 11:37am ET

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HP Scandal Reflects on Enterprise Software Issue

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The recent turmoil at Hewlett-Packard that went public with news of the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd is only superficially about the facts of the scandal or the question of who will be the new CEO, sexy as those issues may be. What it really shines a light on is the performance of the company itself. I wrote earlier this year (See: “HP Takes Technology Portfolio to the Clouds with New Growth Strategy”) about the challenges HP faces in building its brand credibility and gaining traction to advance its enterprise software business. Then in May, HP hired Bill Veghte from Microsoft to run its $3 billion software business unit. Bill and his boss Ann Livermore stated at the time, not surprisingly, that software is a strategic part of delivering innovation to customers. In my view that’s more a description of their goal than the then-current reality. In fact, HP has had a low profile in the software segment. Though the division gets its place on its Web site, many of us close-in watchers question claims that HP is a leader in any enterprise software category beyond data center and network management. Convincing us otherwise will require more than fancy words and sales collateral; Mark Hurd or no Mark Hurd, it’ll require walking the talk: having the people and products companies want – products that will make a difference.

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