HP to Enter the Cloud

HP announced yesterday that it will build its own cloud product, seeking to become the industry leader of enabling businesses of all sizes and consumers to access and store data.

HP CEO Léo Apotheker, in one of his first speeches since taking the reins of the company in November, asserted that a hybrid environment combining traditional storage media with private and public clouds will ultimately be the model that sticks around for the long-term. Apotheker said HP's webOS operating system would also be connected to HP’s cloud.

"We see clearly a world in which the impact of cloud and connectivity is changing not only the user experience, but how individuals, small businesses, and enterprises will consume, deploy, and leverage information technology. HP is well-positioned to be the trusted leader in addressing this opportunity," said Apotheker in his presentation. "HP's scalable, converged infrastructure forms the backbone of today's cloud computing, and we expect our leadership in software, services, PCs and Web-connected printers, as well as the strengths we've built and the investments we've made, to give us a huge advantage as we help define, deliver, and run the truly connected world that spans cloud and connectivity, from the consumer through the enterprise."

HP intends to build a full cloud stack and offer the industry's first open cloud marketplace integrating consumer, enterprise, and developer services. The app store should launch within the next year and will be open to non-HP competing devices and software.

"Imagine a world where enterprise applications are as easy to download as consumer mobile applications," says Steven Hilton, head of enterprise research at Analysys Mason. "HP is the 60-ton gorilla putting its foot forward and staking out its territory."

Hilton says he is skeptical about HP's "lack of mention" of channel partners for its cloud product. "Unless HP has a clearly defined cloud program for its partners, it's going to be hard for HP to get the kind of momentum it needs," he speculates.

During his presentation, Apotheker also outlined additional initiatives relating to connectivity and software. Among these include HP's decision to continue producing Microsoft Windows-based tablet devices alongside its webOS TouchPad tablet, which is scheduled to be released in June.

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