HP has “made too many mistakes” says former VP

A former Hewlett-Packard VP thinks the best the firm can hope for is to become IBM’s number two with the company likely to sell its PC arm in the near future.

Bernd Bischoff, former HP European VP and general manager of commercial channels, spoke to The Channel at the Canalys APAC conference in Bangkok and criticised his former company for what he sees as a lack of innovation – something echoed elsewhere.

“They are not as strong as IBM. They will become a little IBM, the number two. But IBM, they have more software, more services,” he said.

Bischoff was talking shortly after a speech delivered by HP CEO Meg Whitman where she laid out the plans for the company’s return to success, something that Bischoff doubts will happen.

“They’ve made too many mistakes in the last few years,” Bischoff stated.

Bischoff’s 33-year career saw him spend four years at IBM before moving over to HP. His career then took him to Fujitsu Siemens as CEO and president before he bowed out of the IT industry in 2008 immediately prior to the PC industry’s struggles starting.

In terms of what mistakes HP has made, Bischoff identified the decision to buy Palm as an opportunity that has now been-and-gone since “they did nothing” and it’s now “too late” to start utilising it to strengthen the firm.

Bischoff also thinks HP has missed the bus when it comes to selling the PC part of the business and although he is confident “they will sell it soon,” he said, “now it’s too late to sell”.

Bischoff thinks that management has a lot to answer for at his former companies and he blames them for not pursuing innovation and instead leaving it to other companies, adding “they thought leave that to Nokia and some other companies”.

“You need the revolutionary ideas...and you need the mix of young people old people and gender and anything. Your team is representing your customers. If they all are 50 years and male, you will not meet the customer needs,” Bischoff said. “Just think about if HP had done an iPhone, an iPad. How successful they could be these days - they had all this technology,” he added.

HP has been under the stewardship of Whitman since 2011 and is hoping to return to growth in 2015 and 2016 after a period of stable revenues through to the end of 2014.