HP hopes its breakup will benefit schools

Venerable Silicon Valley company HP is splitting into two separate firms—one for printers and computers and one for enterprise solutions

By splitting into two companies, HP hopes it will be more nimble to compete and innovate. (Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com)

Innovations in mobile computing, 3D printing, and cloud services are what HP hopes to deliver to schools and other customers as a result of its decision this week to split into two separate companies.

HP spokesman Jim Christensen said the move ultimately should benefit HP’s K-12 and higher-ed customers.

“Our customers are at the heart of our business and strategy, and we believe this move better positions us to meet their needs in a rapidly changing market,” he told eSchool News.

The announcement comes as HP tries to execute a five-year turnaround plan that will return the company to profitability. HP has posted revenue declines in 11 of the past 12 quarters.

The breakup would create one company that sells computers and printers and a second that focuses on enterprise technology services, including data storage, servers, and software.

The split will give each company “the independence, focus, financial resources, and flexibility” it needs to innovate in the highly competitive high-tech market, CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement.

The PC and printer business will use the name HP Inc. and will retain the company’s blue and white logo. The services business will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Whitman will lead the Enterprise business and will serve as non-executive chairman of HP Inc., while current PC and printer chief Dion Weisler will be the CEO of HP Inc.

The separation is not expected to be final until Oct. 31, 2015. Christensen said information about the new points of contact for service and support at each of the two companies would be available as that completion date nears.

Ed-tech consultant Mitch Weisburgh of Academic Business Advisors said he likes the company’s move.

“I think that this could bode really well for the two entities and also for schools and districts,” he said. “Printers and PCs are a commodity business. HP Inc. can concentrate on driving down costs and increasing value, which should result in lower-cost devices.”

Weisburgh added: “Technology infrastructure and services is about increasing flexibility. … If Hewlett-Packard Enterprise puts its top brains on the education sector, we could see them helping drive huge infrastructure changes that will streamline schools and provide teachers and students with platforms to individualize learning and student mastery.”

(Next page: More information about the split—and what it might mean for schools)

Dennis Pierce

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