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HP Doesn't Want to be IBM

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"They are on a maturity and adoption into the customer base that's going to be different," he told TheStreet. "We're in the middle of the hype cycle on cloud and there's a lot of perceived need and want out there, but the reality of it is that people are going to take some longer periods to adopt it ."

Potts pointed to HP's public cloud beta as evidence of its cloud commitment. "HP has stood up as a public cloud infrastructure -- we have offered that as a private beta to a set of existing customers that are testing that out," he said. "There will be further announcements this year about when we go to full GA general availability and open that up."

Public clouds typically involve customers accessing services such as storage and server power from third-party companies, whereas private clouds are often run at customers' own sites. Private clouds could be used, for example, to provide company-wide marketing or HR services across multiple locations.

The CTO, though, refutes the suggestion that HP is late to the cloud market. "I don't think that we're new into cloud -- I think that the public part of it is fairly new," he said. "When you talk about enterprises or service providers, we have engaged with an awful lot of companies around building out private and managed private cloud."

HP touts a host of offerings for the cloud market, such as software for provisioning cloud applications and products for maintaining cloud service performance.

As for big data, Potts highlighted synergies between Autonomy, and other parts of the HP portfolio. "There's a lot of synergy with Autonomy and our storage division," he said, identifying hardware from the company's 3Par acquisition and data analytics software from the Vertica purchase. "You have got a great combination -- that's a combination of hardware with software and then, of course, services."

At this stage, though, HP's software business lags way behind IBM's in revenue.

HP's software revenue climbed 30% year-over-year during the company's recent fiscal first quarter, but, at $946 million, accounted for just over 3% of the firm's overall revenue. Total software revenue during the company's fiscal 2011 was $3.22 billion, or 2.5% of total sales.

IBM, in contrast, brought in software revenue of $7.6 billion during its most recent quarter, an year-over-year increase of 9%, making up almost 26% of the firm's overall sales.

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