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HP: Does It Have a Chance Against Apple?


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), I think it's fair to say after its most recent earnings report -- one which includes measures to save the company $3 billion to $3.5 billion over the next couple of years that the company has been on a bit of a roll these days.

Of course I say this relative to an operation that was once perceived as being in constant disarray as evident by the frequent use of the turnstile -- also known as the chair of the CEO. However, based on the stock's current trading activity, it seems investors have yet to appreciate where the company is now heading.

It was not too long ago that the talk on Wall Street was that the company was going to scrap its fledging PC business and leave what is broadly known as a low margin business solely to Dell (DELL). The so-called "death of the PC" was imminent.

It became clear that HP had no interest in making it a slow and painful death. Instead it showed it wanted to expedite the process and euthanize what was always a critical part of its business.

The company wanted to erase some past mistakes -- including tactical errors such as encroaching on Apple's (AAPL) territory with its TouchPad tablet without being adequately prepared. It wasted valuable time and resources producing the tablet when evidence suggested that it was not going to work. Research in Motion's (RIMM) PlayBook, Dell's Streak and even Cisco's (CSCO) Cius tablet were all falling by the wayside.

Apple understood consumers, where the specialty for HP, et al., was the enterprise. But what has happened is that the enterprise user and the consumer became one and the same.

The good thing for HP is that it now has Meg Whitman who appears ready and able to clean things up. It is clear that she has the management structure in place to get the company to where it needs to go.

However, as good as things appear to be progressing now, the question is, will it ever be good enough? In other words, where should the bar be set and should it be bold enough to include beating Apple at its own game? I suspect that is what it is positioning itself to do.

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