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April 01, 2011

HP circles software wagons in Soul Group

HP Soul New HP CEO Leo Apothker's search for the company's lost soul has sparked a revival of the HP Way this week, when the company announced a return to the HP Way that created MPE, reskinned Unix, and bought VMS and NonStop. The four operating systems will enter a new group that's led by webOS, one that analysts are calling the Soul Group.

Apotheker, speaking at this week's America's Partners conference, introduced new vice president Bryan Humphrey as leader of the growth markets group built around HP's unique software environments. Even though nearly 10 years have elapsed since the company shucked off futures for the 3000's OS, Apotheker's drive toward an HP Way 2.0 will expand opportunities for the software so central to his company vision.

"HP has tremendous resources in its software intellectual property," Apotheker told a cheering audience in Las Vegas. "We've built the advantages a competitor cannot duplicate. We will eschew the mantra of Microsoft everywhere with millions of PCs and printers. Hardware comes and goes, but software lives forever."

One thunderbolt to the 3000 community came in the announcement of purchasing the SRNW emulator group, a skunkworks project that has been developing an MPE skin that runs on Intel hardware. Humphrey, whose background runs back to the HP Pinewood days of NewWave, said that PCs sit ready to take the 3000 OS into businesses. "Our CEO's search for the lost soul is over," Humphrey said from the stage of the Bellagio casino theatre. "There's nothing but opportunity left for our Deep Soul environments. We want to show the world what HP built, and then lost. We're driving these vehicles into the cloud and onto desktops.

Since marketing was always the weakest part of VMS and MPE product lines, this Soul Group has added just-retired Mich Matthews, head of Microsoft marketing. Matthews stepped down after 18 years of employment at Microsoft this week.

"It's time for something new," he said in a statement. "HP has software built to change business and enrich lives, from the cloud to the backoffice to computers you can touch. I'm delighted to help the company boot up HP Way 2.0."

Foulkes Matthews announced that a new streaming dramedy series, Soul Food, is already being produced to sell the soul concept. Tyler Perry will direct spokes-pitchmen and actors John Hudgins and Justin Long (the PC and Mac from Apple's commercials) as well as T-Mobile's darling Carly Foulkes in hour-long episodes delivered for free through HP's newest datacenter facility in Fort Collins. Foulkes, a Canadian actress who's been mistaken for a new star in the AMC series Mad Men, has been exploring her options since the ATT buyout of T-Mobile seems to have put her work in those commercials in jeopardy.

"This is one Carly who's going to deliver better notices for HP's inventions," Humphrey said. The 49,960 square foot 10-megawatt research facility in Fort Collins, which houses 10,000 servers and 10,000 sensors, is being tapped as the source for online streaming that uses Amazon's Brown Box cable, built outside of the recent bandwidth restrictions announced by ATT. Orders for the Soul Group systems will be managed by MPE, delivered via VMS, and security-proofed using years of breach-plugging experience via the new LockBox privacy suite from the HP-UX labs.

09:59 AM in News Outta HP | Permalink

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I was at HP Pinewood, working in their internal EDP department, when Office Products Division (OPD) were developing 'HP Office' (~1987). What a mess that was! Every OPD developer had his/her own 3000 to develop/test his/her piece of the action. Never did it cross their minds to test the full product on 1 machine. I foolishly tried to point this out, suggesting that the verbose product required a lot of disc and memory, notwithstanding that it was a CPU hog. They (I'll keep their names anonymous) didn't listen, and anyone who remembers this 'clunker' uses this as an example of why HP is not a software company - hard as they may try.

I believe that the company chairman (in those days Bill or Dave???) used to say in his opening remarks at every Annual General Meeting that "... HP is a precision-instrument manufacturer ...".

Then they tried NewWave.

Then they purchased the Appollo group, acquired a version of Unix and label-engineered it as HP-UX with HP Workstations.

Then they offered the HP9000 as a product...

Unix was developed by Bell Labs as a means to speed-up testing on an IBM mainframe. By removing all the security in the IBM OS, they were able to develop faster, then do full testing on the full OS.

Everyone wanted a copy of Unix, Bell Labs provided, and the cat was out of the bag - OS's with no security.

Textbooks were written about Unix, they taught it in colleges and universities, but nobody thought to warn business users that they were taking on a business system with no security.

But it sold. And it continues to sell. Everyone now scrambles to develop versions that have some form of security. But a reasonable person knows that if it's not there at design-time, it'll take a bigger effort to try and put it in later.

Unix textbooks today still do not have sections/chapters dedicated to security. It is understandable that 'security' is not fully explained, but no mention of it, not even in the index, is self-explanatory.

Then they purchased Compaq...

Then they abandoned MPE...

Then they purchased a hand-held...

Now they claim to be in the software industry?

Posted by: Tom Lang | Apr 1, 2011 12:57:32 PM

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