Hewlett-Packard Co. still has a public cloud -- but won't try to compete head-on against Amazon Web Services and several other public clouds that are pulling away from the proverbial pack. Here's why.

HP will focus more of its time selling its servers and hardware to third-party cloud providers rather than competing head-on vs. AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure, according to The New York Times. However, the Times does not definitively state whether HP's own public cloud is alive or dead. 

HP's public cloud site, built on OpenStack technology, appears to remain open for business. HP did not reply to Information Management's request for comment in time for this article's publication. But an HP statement to Computer Weekly said the company is not exiting the public cloud market.

Early Signs of Trouble

HP's public cloud efforts have faced plenty of challenges and turnover. A defining moment came in January 2013, when HP cloud leader Zorawar "Biri" Singh exited the company. A few months later, rival Dell abandoned its IaaS public cloud strategy -- perhaps foreshadowing HP's own move down the road.

Singh had spent two years building and directing HP's public cloud strategy -- betting heavily on OpenStack and speaking at a range of industry events to assure customers and partners that HP was serious about Infrastructure as a Service, SaaS and more.

But anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. After Singh exited, the public cloud strategy seemed to be adrift. Fast forward to the present, and the clear cloud leaders are AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Google and Salesforce.com, according to Synergy Research Group. While the overall cloud market continues to enjoy double-digit growth, HP's SaaS revenues were flat in Q1 2015 vs. Q1 2014.

More Changes

HP acquired Eucalyptus -- a private cloud software specialist -- in September 2014, but analysts have questioned whether that deal will yield significant fruit. Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos briefly led HP's cloud strategy but has since moved to a new role -- triggering yet another HP cloud leadership shift in February 2015.

The ultimate irony: Amazon is accelerating its enterprise cloud push during an AWS Summit this week in San Francisco -- the very week that HP essentially told the New York Times that it no longer plans to compete head-on against Amazon.

The Bottom Line -- Finally Revealed

Amazon is set to announce quarterly results on April 22, according to Yahoo Finance. Those financial results will mark the first time that Amazon discloses AWS revenues -- and perhaps even operating profits (or losses) for that business. Some pundits think AWS is still losing money -- or, at best, barely turning a profit. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to have a stomach for that type of business. Clearly, HP CEO Meg Whitman doesn't -- at least not when it comes to competing vs AWS head-on.

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