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HP outlines long-term strategy

Hewlett-Packard, fresh off marathon planning sessions for its corporate future, has targeted separate areas of focus in commercial printing and software company acquisition.

A prime target in the software department will be companies that serve the blade server market. HP has already taken over companies that provide support and technologies for storage management, such as appIQ. That will definitely continue, according to CEO Mark Hurd.

A related area of focus will be the chip market, with HP announcing that it will learn more and more toward Advanced Micro Devices’ Opteron chip, in a departure from a longstanding agreement between HP and Intel.

Commercial printing, which is perhaps the company’s most successful enterprise, will continue to innovate and improve, the company said, providing a source of stability in a sometimes turbulent marketplace.

Along with all of these improvements, according to Hurd, will come a renewed focus on direct sales. The company has hired former Dell CIO Randy Mott to help implement the back-end processes necessary for a first-rate direct-order Web site.

The choice of Mott is perhaps an apt one, since Dell is one of HP’s main competitors. But the focus on direct sales must not be at the expense of the middle-men retailers who already do a bang-up job of selling HP products.

“When you go from direct to indirect, the only people who get upset are your own sales force,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. “But if you’ve got distribution and you go direct, you’re competing against the people that help you.”

For now, the big news is that HP, at times making headlines for its tumultous corporate infrastructure, has a plan, focusing both inward and outward, on direct sales, printers, and servers.

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