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HP CEO: No sign of an economic turnaround

HP CEO: No sign of an economic turnaround

While HP sees signs of stabilisation in the US economy, there's no indication of a pickup, HP chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Carly Fiorina, has said.

Nevertheless, HP is confident it can continue growing by expanding its share of the technology market.

"We don't need IT spending to grow," Fiorina said. "We need customers to spend more of their IT dollars on us."

HP's revenue was on track to reach $US36.6 billion in the second half of its 2003 fiscal year, a 6 per cent increase over the second half of 2002, she said.

HP was realising its Compaq-merger goal of lifting itself into the top echelon of IT vendors, Fiorina said. The new "adaptive enterprise" strategy the company laid out last month had helped in positioning the company there, she said.

"We're now moving to a whole new level of conversation with CEOs and CIOs (chief information officers)," Fiorina said.

Executives particularly singled out HP's advances in the services market. Citing HP's recent win of a $3 billion outsourcing contract from Procter & Gamble, executive vice-president of HP Services, Ann Livermore, said the company has now demonstrated that it can compete against anyone to win "megadeals".

"We really think this quarter was important to establishing us as the best alternative to IBM in the services space," Livermore said.

With HP declaring its integration of Compaq essentially done, Fiorina fielded a question from an analyst about HP's interest in another acquisition of a large company, one with thousands of employees and more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

"Now that we all know they work?" she quipped.

The size of a deal shouldn't be a factor in decisions about acquisitions; what matters was that the buyout filled a strategic gap, Fiorina answered. Adding the caveat that her willingness to speculate about acquisitions isn't an indication of anything in the works, Fiorina said software and services remain the areas in which she'd consider going shopping.

"Certainly from a readiness point of view, we are now ready to take on more than we were a year ago, because we have the bulk of [integrating Compaq] behind us," she said.


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