H-P Bets on the Cloud

Hewlett-Packard designed and built its first computer in 1966. Has it designed and built its last?

Various Wall Street sources are reporting today that the world’s second largest electronics company will spin off its PC unit in order to concentrate on servers and services. If true, it marks the end to an extraordinary era — one that saw H-P race neck-and-neck for years with IBM and Digital Equipment in the mainframe space, then after falling behind Dell in PCs, snatch up Compaq in a move that was generally panned but turned out to be a masterstroke.

Still, over the past several years PCs  became an ever lower-margin business filled with low-cost competitors. Moreover, the emergence of shared-server computing — aka, “the cloud” — posed a threat to those who poured resources into branded laptops and desktops.

It says here this move is H-P’s way of saying that it, too, believes cloud computing is the future, and the money to be made will come from selling the heavy-duty hardware, not billions of “dummy” terminals that are hooked in to it.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow