Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman delivered an upbeat assessment of the company’s prospects during an address to investors and analysts this morning, saying she has “real confidence that we’re headed in the right direction and we will turn this thing around.”
However, Whitman also said she sees two of the company’s partners, Microsoft and Intel, becoming “outright competitors” of HP as they move onto its turf.
“We are seeing profound changes in the competitive landscape,” she said, according to an AllThingsD live blog from the event. “Our competitors are expanding across the IT stack. Current partners like Intel and Microsoft are turning from partners to outright competitors.”
In a tangible example of this change, HP has been getting serious about Chromebooks, just yesterday unveiling the new Chromebook 11 (at right) running the Google operating system and selling for $279.
It’s the latest example of how Microsoft’s shift into computer hardware can feel to its longtime partners like a case of stepping on their toes. Microsoft is walking a fine line with its Surface tablets, as it will be with its Lumia phones as a result of the Nokia Devices & Services acquisition.
Ideally, the move would provide an example to other hardware makers and set a standard for Windows devices. But there’s also the risk of alienating and competing with those partners instead. It looks like that’s happening with HP, and it’s all the more notable that Whitman is saying it publicly.