HP chief Apotheker steers firm into the cloud

Strategy reveal includes consumer 'app store'
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HP boss Leo Apotheker took the stage at an event in San Francisco to set out his strategy for the world's largest computer maker.

Sketching the firm's strategy in broad strokes, rather than focusing on the details, Apotheker indicated that HP will move to embrace cloud computing by delivering platforms and services to both enterprise and consumer markets.

HP's new polyglot boss, in the job for a little over four months, told of a future in which all HP devices would connect to a cloud based offering, including PCs as well as connected printers and smartphones. 

The Palm-acquired WebOS is to play a key role in the delivery of connected services. Apotheker claimed that HP's infrastructure already formed the "backbone" of cloud computing solutions already on the market.

"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."

Also on the cards is a consumer application store, likely targetting the WebOS platform. Apotheker earlier this month told Bloomberg that WebOS would be shipped on all HP PCs.

By doing so the "You build a massive platform," he said. The initially appearance of WebOS on HP PCs is set to be delivered in the web browser but it's possible a more integrated solution could be planned.

HP's designs on cloud computing as well as the consumer strategy of launching a consumer 'app' store for the web browser, looks like HP is taking direct aim at Google's cloud offering and Google's recently launched Chrome app store.

Though it can be equally said to be taking aim at Microsoft's cloud efforts and broader attempts to expand application platforms on PCs, consoles and mobiles.

Four months in the job and Apotheker has boldly set forth a strategy which looks very similar to that of Google and Microsoft. The last giants standing, outside of consumer boutique niches like Apple, will be those which own successful enterprise and consumer application platforms. 

Apotheker's new cloud strategy, with its heavy focus on convergence of the firm's broad range of enterprise and consumer products, signals an epic convergence of another kind. 

The competitive landscape of the IT industry looks set to be fought between a mighty triumvirate of the market leaders of software, internet and hardware. 

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