HP's Léo Apotheker: We're heading to the cloud

In an exclusive interview, HP's new CEO expands on his strategy and offers frank assessments of his competition

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Gallant: I think it's very interesting for our enterprise IT readers to learn more about the app store, because mostly what they know of app stores is that they're consumer products, consumer apps. What should people know about this? What is there for an enterprise IT person to understand?

Apotheker: Well, you know, it would give CIOs an opportunity to put at the disposal of the users apps that can be easily consumed by employees of the enterprise that have been certified, approved, secured, and were conformed to IT strategy and IT procedures and processes. Some of them can be very large apps, but then you don't really need to put them into an app store. Some of them can be more short-term things. An application to manage your expenses, an application to use your touchpad in order to capture your expenses -- you know, scan them with a camera, upload them, and you are done. A whole bunch of things that will make life a lot easier, a lot simpler.

Then of course there are all of the apps that you could use when it comes to analyzing and looking at data, so it becomes a real catalog of capabilities that can be dynamically managed. If something gets corrupted, something gets polluted, you can take it out. You can immediately remove it from all of the devices if you have such a capability -- you can bring your things on-stream. It becomes a completely new way of interacting, where I believe CIOs could close the gap in a significant fashion between the old dilemma that you're delivering value for the business users and actually being ready on the IT side. I mean, we all know the story about the time it takes between the expression that a consumer, that a user has, for IT to deliver it. This will shorten the timeframe significantly.

Gallant: I'm from Boston, but now that I'm out in California, I can say -- that sounds cool.

Apotheker: It does sound cool. It is awesome as well.

Gallant: Awesome. If I understand that correctly, you will have an app store, but this is technology that a CIO could also use in their private cloud environment to create an app store capability?

Apotheker: Sure, of course. Yes. All the things we talk about will always be available also in the private cloud.

Gallant: Yesterday, when you were asked about whether there would be any leadership or organizational changes that may be needed at HP, you declined to talk about that. But do you think that such changes are necessary? And if so, when would we learn about them?

Apotheker: I think I will give you the same answer as yesterday: Today we talk about strategy.

Knorr: In that case, how about SMB strategy? What is your SMB strategy? Often SMBs are the prime adopters of public cloud services. How do you plan to attack that market?

Apotheker: We embrace that. HP has a storied history of working with channel partners. And when I came on the job, we talked about customers, we talked about employees, we talked about shareholders. We didn't talk about partners. I did reach out to many partners in all of the countries that I visited -- and I meet with partners on a very regular basis. And they are an indispensable part of our go-to-market capability and our capability to deliver value to customers.

If you look at the clouds, if we can create the right kind of platform and tools -- and we are going to have that -- so PaaS is an important element of our strategy. And that kind of an environment will create space for our partners, for our VARs and ISVs, people who want to become ISVs or whatever else, to create capabilities and applications on our cloud in the most effective way possible so that they can service their customer service.

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