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技术 - 个人电脑

惠普:从昂首阔步到踉跄前行

Dan Mitchell 2011年05月20日

按理说,无论IT行业怎么变化,像惠普那样的大公司应该始终都能四平八稳。但是,从日本地震灾难到移动计算尚不明确的未来,样样事都不让首席执行官李艾科安心。是该反思现状、预测未来的时候了。

                                 Leo Apotheker (CEO of SAP)

                     惠普首席执行官李艾科。图片源自Flickr,提供者:mkrigsman

    上周,思科公司(Cisco)宣布即将裁员上千人。这无异于自揭伤疤,将麻烦缠身的事实昭告天下。

    接着,本周一,《彭博新闻》(Bloomberg News)掌握了思科的竞争对手惠普公司(HP)首席执行官李艾科的一份备忘录。在备忘录中, 李艾科指示属下10名高管说,惠普需要控制成本,限制招募新人,勒紧裤腰带,准备挨过“下一个艰难的季度”。由于此次泄密事件,惠普被迫于周二公布了季度业绩,这比原计划提前了一天。

    惠普本财季的成绩尚可,但前景不容乐观。在4月30日结束的财季中,赢利增加了5%(好于预期),营业收入增长了3%(与该公司自己预计的相差无几)。但是,惠普降低了其2011年的预期值。在那份泄密的备忘录中,李艾科吩咐公司高管道,惠普“在开支方面必须斟酌每一分钱,并将招聘成本降至最低。”惠普这个上世纪90年代的IT宠儿,紧步思科后尘,已经成为最新一个出局者。现在,它只能眼巴巴地向里张望,眼瞅着移动计算、云计算以及社交计算领域内发生的革命,已经几乎完全与自己擦肩而过。

    惠普自认前景惨淡,并将原因归咎于消费者对个人计算机的需求减弱(尽管商用个人计算机需求好于预期),其服务业务更是步履维艰,目前正在重组。

    惠普服务部门困难重重,一方面,与群龙无首有关;另一方面,该部门亦无像样的策略出台。李艾科在面向分析师召开的电话会议上表示,服务部门还需要近半年的时间,才能与客户签署基于云计算等高利润产品的合同。(备注:这是否意味着惠普服务部门的客户即将“破财”?)

    说到服务,李艾科禁不住谴责公司前任首席执行官马克•赫德。去年8月,赫德离开了惠普,李艾科于同年11月接任。“过去,我们总是大谈特谈策略,但从未成功地将之付诸实践。”李艾科本周二对《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)表示。

    此外,某种程度上,惠普还将消费类个人计算机市场趋于疲软一事归罪于日本大地震。该公司表示,这不仅因为日本市场的销量下降了,而且地震还中断了产品的供给线。并且,该公司又提及,个人计算机销量下降,亦与消费者对平板电脑的需求增加有关。惠普希望消费者届时能购买自己即将上市的平板电脑TouchPad。该产品搭载WebOS平台,将于今夏交付使用。

    本周二,Gleacher & Co.公司分析师布莱恩•马歇尔向客户提交了一份文件。文件中有段措辞尖锐的评论:“昔日,惠普以其一贯的上佳表现和卓越的运营而闻名业界;如今,它已成了不受欢迎的代名词(诸如管理层的更迭、领导力的降低、泄密等等)。”投资者“希望其投资对象既能做到始终如一,同时又要尽量减少意外变故。”马歇尔继续写道:“不幸的是,惠普最近哪样儿也没做到。”

    论及惠普的未来,财经评论网站Breakingviews的克里斯托弗•斯万总结道:既然惠普已经公布了其“惨淡的前景预测”,现在面临的问题就是“惠普能否迅速地从个人计算机和打印机业务转向平板电脑、移动计算和云计算。”

    译者:大海

    Last week, Cisco's troubles were made painfully apparent when the company announced there would be layoffs, likely in the thousands.

    Then on Monday Bloomberg News got hold of a memo from Leo Apotheker, CEO of Cisco's (CSCO) rival HP (HPQ), telling 10 of his top executives that they need to control costs, to limit hiring and to gird their loins for "another tough quarter." The leak forced HP to issue its quarterlies on Tuesday, a day earlier than planned.

    The numbers look OK; the outlook doesn't. Profits in the quarter ending April 30 were up 5% (better than expected) and revenues were up 3% (about what the company had forecast). But the company lowered its 2011 outlook. In the leaked memo, Apotheker told execs that the company "must watch every penny and minimize all hiring." Like Cisco then, HP is the latest big tech darling of the 90's to find itself on the outside, looking in at a revolution in mobile, cloud and social computing that has largely passed it by.

    HP blames its worsening outlook on weak consumer demand for personal computers (though business PC demand is stronger than expected) and, mainly, trouble with its services business, which it is in the midst of restructuring.

    Part of the problem is that the services unit has no chief. It also doesn't seem to have much of a strategy in place. In a conference call with analysts, Apotheker said it will take perhaps six months to get the services unit to sign customers on to higher-margin contracts for such products as cloud computing. (Side note: does this amount to a signal to services customers that they are about to be gouged?)

    For this, Apotheker seemed to blame former CEO Mark Hurd, who left the company last August (Apotheker took over in November). "We talked strategy, we just failed to execute in the past," Apotheker told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

    And the company is also blaming the Japan earthquake, in part, for weakness in the consumer PC market -- sales are down in Japan, it said, and the quake had disrupted supply lines as well. The company also cited consumer demand for tablets eating into PC sales. The company is pinning its consumer hopes on its own forthcoming tablet product, the TouchPad, built on the WebOS platform. That product is due this summer.

    Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall issued a note on Tuesday including this biting passage: "Historically known for its consistent performance and operational excellence, Hewlett-Packard is now associated with more undesirable attributes (e.g., management changes, lowering of guidance, internal leaks, etc.)." Investors want "both consistency and lack of surprises from its portfolio companies," he continued. "Unfortunately, Hewlett-Packard is delivering neither" lately.

    As for the future, Breakingviews' Chrisopher Swann concluded that, having issued its "grim forecast," the question now is "whether HP can move quickly enough from PCs and printers to tablets, mobile and the cloud."

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