Article: Number One

by on December 5, 2011

I find it a little funny that HP is including a tagline promoting their position as the number one PC manufacturer on their TV ads. I don’t know if that strategy is really going to work for them—the whole buy-an-HP-because-everyone-else-is mentality probably won’t work. They sell cheap computers to consumers and they’re rather forgettable. What happened to the promising HP from just a short while ago?

If you recall just a few short months ago, HP was high and mighty on its future—the TouchPad was due to be sold soon, and Eric Cador, HP’s European head was boastful:

“In the PC world, with fewer ways of differentiating HP’s products from our competitors, we became number one; in the tablet world we’re going to become better than number one…We call it number one plus.”

We all know the story of the TouchPad’s quick demise and the questionable future of the webOS platform. At one point, webOS was going to be included on all of its PCs. That would certainly make them unique and could offer users a simple, inexpensive alternative to Windows, Mac OS X, or the no-traction Linux distributions out there. Plus, you know HP would make sure that the software and hardware integration would be good…it seemed they almost wanted to be Apple.

Now, HP is having a change of heart. They’re not number one plus. They almost got rid of their PC business, have no mobile strategy, and the way things look, are going to hand the number one spot over to Apple, at least according to HP CEO Meg Whitman in an interview in Le Figaro, a French publication:

“Yes. It’s possible if you integrate the tablets. Apple is doing a great job. We need to improve our game and our products to take over the leadership position. Apple could go past HP in 2012. We will try to be champion again in 2013. It will take time for the products that I have influence on to make it to the market.”

As for Whitman’s view on tablets-versus-traditional PCs?

“Not at this time. Internet tablets are mainly used to consume media and e-mails. If you want to use productivity software such as Microsoft, you can not do so. Our studies show that this is an additional purchase that does not encroach on the PC market. This is an important area on which we want to go.”

Then again, it’s funny that just as this story was being published, various sources, including Apple Spotlight>, shared a post by Technologizer editor Harry McCracken:

“…I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m positive it’s possible–because I’ve been doing it for the past three months, and I’ve been having a really good time.”/blockquote>

Until people outside of Apple start realizing that a tablet an iPad can do more than just consume content, they are doomed to keep falling into the rut of traditional commodity PCs or making tablets that nobody will buy. Besides even Microsoft may release Office for the iPad. In many ways, this reminds me of people initially not taking the original Mac seriously, when compared to text-based “real” computers. The Apple ][ was the product competitors cared about, since the Mac was so different that it could never gain a foothold with developers or customers. Although it did, the iPad has a major difference—price. The iPad is cheaper than a number of computers, and comparable with some of the cheapest PC laptops out there. Because of this, word of mouth, and the fact that apps are maturing, the iPad should be taken seriously as a threat to traditional PC sales.

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