A long time ago, they used to be friends. But not now as HP CEO Meg Whitman believes Microsoft to be the company's "outright competitor."
Ramping up pre-Surface tension ahead of the double device launch on October 22, Whitman was quick to tell shareholders her thoughts on all things Redmond - not to mention the folk at Intel as well.
“HP’s traditional highly profitable markets face significant disruption,” said Whitman, at the company's annual financial meeting. “Our competitors are expanding across the IT stack.
“Our business-specific competitors are exhibiting increased pressure in targeted areas.
"Wintel devices are being challenged by ARM-based devices.
"We are seeing profound changes in the competitive landscape.
"Current partners like Intel and Microsoft are turning from partners to outright competitors.”
Yet Whitman, who is now getting into bed with long-time Microsoft rival Google, appeared unmoved by the shift, claiming:
“I like our assets better than most of our competitors’ assets as we head into this new style of IT.”
Joining forces with internet search giant Google, HP is creating a new Chromebook based on Google's ChromeOS.
But despite such strong words from the CEO, Whitman did admit the company was slow off the mark when it come to mobile market
“We have got to up our game substantially in how we do things at this company,” Whitman acknowledged.
“We don’t always look carefully at how we can optimise our end-to-end processes. We’ve got to demand a consistent level of quality."
Admitting that "HP is just a little late to the game", Whitman continued: “We still have a lot of work to do in our go-to-market operations, our partners and our direct sales teams, at the appropriate speed.
“I think we’re going to make real progress in 2014 in this critical area that leads directly to revenue.”
Microsoft, set to launch the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 later this month, is rumoured to have angered long-time ally HP with its move into hardware, along with loaning rival Dell US$2 billion as part of its bid to go private.
“Whitman didn’t mince words when she called out Intel and Microsoft as competitors,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
“Intel is arming server original device manufacturers (ODMs) like Quanta with technology to compete with HP’s servers.
"Microsoft is competing head to head with HP with their Surface line and with Azure-based cloud services.
"As a result, HP is embracing Android, Chrome OS, OpenStack, and system-on-a-chip solutions (SOCs) from Nvidia, Rockchip, Applied Micro, Calxeda, TI, and SRC.”
"New Style of IT"
The core of HP’s new strategy is focused on providing unique technology solutions for the “New Style of IT.”
Essentially, Whitman claims the company has the combination of hardware, software, scale and innovation to provide the integrated solutions that help customers realise the full benefits of cloud, security, big data and mobility.
“While there is a lot more work to be done, I am confident about the progress we are making,” Whitman added.
“We’re producing tangible results, strengthening our balance sheet and delivering innovative products across all our key segments.
"We are implementing the changes needed to support our multi-year turnaround journey, reaffirm HP’s leadership position, and create enduring value for customers as well as for our shareholders."
Are HP and Microsoft now rivals rather than partners? Is getting close to Google a good move? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below