Indeed, it seems inevitable that HP will go on a software shopping spree on Apotheker's watch, if only because "having a good software portfolio helps drive so much else," namely hardware sales and services revenue, said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté.
There are important gaps for HP to fill, according to Coté.
"Most everyone I talk to agrees that HP needs to get their software act together." HP has some excellent software assets, such as its testing products, but "there isn't a sense of a unified software strategy like you have with, say, IBM," he said.
To this end, Apotheker faces a broader challenge, according to Coté.
While HP generates north of $100 billion in revenue each year, they aren't known for much more than expensive printer ink, "decent servers, and niche software products that seem to work in isolation," he said. "If you wanted to be an 'HP CIO,' there's not much of an ethos, road map, or sort of 'brand' to sign up for."
But in choosing Apotheker to lead the company, HP could be hoping his many long-standing relationships dealing with SAP CIOs at enterprises around the world will help change that dynamic.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com