A gamble in 2002 is starting to pay off for HP this year, as the merger with Compaq has driven HP's PC business to new highs — and brought along HP's share price in the run-up.
Yesterday HP's shares traded above $45 for the first time since November, 2000. That was the month when HP was still hosting things like the "Go e!" conference for 3000 customers in Europe, pushing the platform. Perhaps just a coincidence. One November later, the 3000's story and future at HP changed.
In more than five years since that exit the 3000 market announcement, HP's stock and its growth have been tied to making that merger work. Then-CEO Carly Fiorina tried to right the shareholder ship when the stock stalled in the middle teens. Even after she went overboard in 2005, however, the PC business remained lashed to the deck of HP.
This week HP had to make an estimated revenue and earnings statement about its Q2 for 2007. An inadvertent leak forced the report, ahead of schedule, that HP will post its first $25 billion quarter. A tide of PC business growth is lifting that ship. It's also doing something good for 3000 customers who will stay loyal to HP.
Business Critical Systems growth has been driven by sales of PC-based solutions. Success in this area is good for the 3000 customer who needs a hardware bargain while trying to afford a migration. Even if Integrity servers have been tough to sell to migrating 3000 customers, that BCS group is going to need some gains. The rising tide of selling PCs — a business IBM bailed out of last year — give HP leverage.
It also appears to have proven that while Fiorina was wrong about clipping low-growth businesses like the 3000, she was right about PC futures. Even if they did take about three years longer to come true than she expected.