HP's chief defends multi-platform server strategy

Brushing off a criticism that Hewlett-Packard's server strategy is unclear, Carly Fiorina, HP's president and chief executive officer, said her company will continue to pursue a multi-platform strategy by developing systems for the Windows NT, HP-UX and Linux operating systems.

"The reality is it's a mixed world out there, and it's going to continue to be a mixed world," Fiorina said, speaking here at the BusinessWeek Conference on the Digital Economy.

Fiorina made her comments during a question-and-answer period with the audience, in response to a question from a representative from the California state government.

"HP's midrange strategy hasn't been clear. Is HP going to continue enhancing its proprietary operating systems and databases?" the representative asked, adding that the California government is a big HP customer.

"We are dedicated to ongoing support - in fact accelerating support - in HP-UX as well as NT and now Linux," Fiorina said. "We've had some criticism. People have said we're going to be distracted; (they've asked) what's the benefit for our customers," Fiorina acknowledged. In reality, no single operating platform will dominate the high-end server market, she said.

In her speech before the Q&A, Fiorina said her challenge at HP is to strip away the bad habits the systems maker has accumulated over the decades while retaining its spirit of innovation. The company is trying to return to a "garage mentality" in which bureaucracy, red tape and "consensus management" don't prevent it from bringing new products to market quickly, she said.

"We know we have to change, we know there are things we have to be doing differently," Fiorina said. "HP is a company that has not yet fulfilled its potential in my view."

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