CNET tuned in to HP's Q2 FY13 earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday and reports that company CEO Meg Whitman focused on Android products, and made no mention of Microsoft's touchy new Windows 8 platform. She did say, however, that the company is moving quickly to produce devices that customers want by using multiple operating systems, multiple architectures, and multiple form factors. Clearly the company is no longer a Windows-focused OEM.
"Following the launch of our first Chromebook in February, we launched the new Slate 7 in the second quarter. The slate marries a sleek 7 inch form factor with an ARM chip and an Android platform to deliver a compelling mobile device at $169. Earlier signs of interest are encouraging," Whitman said.
She also mentioned the SlateBook x2, launched last week, which is "the first Android hybrid device with the Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor."
Later on in the call, Whitman did talk about PCs, but added that Android is a very important part of the mix. "About PCs, listen, if we have the right product that's priced right, the channel still loves HP. And frankly, having Android products here helps a lot. The $169 Slate helps covers a segment of the market that we didn't have before," she said.
Back in January 2012, Whitman embraced Windows 8 with open arms, saying that she was a believer, that HP will need to stick with the new platform. But now sixteen months later, she's talking about multiple operating systems, the $339 Pavilion 14 Chromebook, the $169 Slate 7 Android tablet and other non-Windows devices. Is it because its PC sales have tanked 20-percent year over year?
In the second quarter of Fiscal 2013, notebooks comprised of 49 percent of the company's revenue, followed by desktops (41 percent), workstations (7 percent) and other devices (3 percent). Personal Systems revenue was $7.6 billion, down 20 percent year over year. Even more, notebooks revenue and units were down 24 percent year over year, desktops revenue and units were down 19 percent and 18 percent respectively, and its consumer-based revenue was down 29 percent (all year over year).
Whitman's lack of Windows 8 talk during the call may have nothing to do with the company's plans for the platform. Instead, she was likely acknowledging that customers are more interested in multiple platforms, especially where their wallet is concerned. Android will always be more appealing because it doesn't come with a licensing fee, and its dominating both the smartphone and tablet markets. To be more appealing to both consumers and ODMs, critics say that Windows 8 licensing will need drop even more.