What's left for HP?

For one thing, HP has Meg Whitman, who appears ready and able to clean things up. It is clear she has the management structure in place to get the company where it needs to go. But as good as things appear to be progressing now, will it ever be good enough?

Also, the company needs to overcome a disappointing history of weak research and development, in which it has chronically under-invested.

Where HP falls short on innovation, it hopes to make it up in execution. This is where Whitman has centered her focus and is the reason for Wall Street to take notice.

But I wonder, where should the bar be set and should it be bold enough to include ever beating Apple at its own game? I suspect that is what HP is positioning itself to do.

At this point I think it's a bit bold to assume HP is ready to take Apple head on. Any reports supporting this notion are overly optimistic.

Rather, the company will be better served by focusing on ways to grow its margins and bring together a more efficient operation. That includes a recent strategy to save the company over $3 billion over the next couple of years.

In other words, the company doesn't have to be Apple to be good, it just needs to be the best HP it can be.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the other stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.

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