Las Vegas -- One year and a week into his tenure as president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd took the stage at Forrester's IT Forum 2006: GigaWorld conference in Las Vegas. Following profiles this week in the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets that focused on the company's financial performance, Hurd turned the focus to product, service and competitive strategies and fielded questions from Forrester founder George Colony and the audience.

The CEO pointed to three areas of growth for HP: printing/imaging, a focus on the mobile market and an evolving data center focused on virtualization, modularization and looming automation that will lower price points for customers. "You won't be arbitraging labor," said Hurd, "you'll be eliminating labor." Overall, he predicted a blurring between products and services and the need to offer services in support of in-house technologies. "If you're a service business that doesn't have a direct alignment to a technology, you will be at somewhat of a disadvantage because the opportunity to align technology directly to the service delivery process is a key competitive advantage." Hurd repeatedly pointed to HP's need to uncomplicate and improve customer interaction and service. "We are in the process of hiring more salespeople, trying to align them closer to the customer [and shrinking] layers of management."

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