went through much change in 1999-00, in India as in the world. In the US, Carly
Fiorina took over; in India, CEO Ganesh Ayyar had his first full year. The test
and measurements division became the Agilent subsidiary, then separated from HP
India in November.
HP India has dominated the printers
market for years, with other imaging and storage peripherals adding to the
figures in recent years. With the kind of market share it enjoys in peripherals,
it was clear that any significant growth would have to come from elsewhere.
1999-00, HP focused on corporate desktop PC volumes, and enterprise systems and
storage. CEO Ayyar also took charge of the crucial enterprise systems business,
after VP Stacy Plemmons returned to HP Singapore.
HP announced its e-speak technology and
said it was an e-space innovator and pioneer. Somehow, it didn’t s-speak loud
enough, and those
who heard wondered what the technology was about. Ignoring the traditionally
weak HP marketing of the message, e-speak is a compelling idea, a sort of
business transaction protocol that will allow ebiz sites and others to
seamlessly share information. Microsoft may well have picked its .net idea from
e-speak, but Redmond spoke louder and clearer.
The group in India now includes two
companies: Delhi-based HP India (the computers, services and peripherals
business) and the Bangalore-based Indian Software Operation (ISO).
Corporate desktop PCs jumped ahead,
after HP decided a year earlier to compete head-on with Compaq’s pricing. Part
of this was the older Vectra lineage, but the numbers came from the
low-priced Brio. So successful was it
that nearly a third of it probably went into consumer markets, instead of HP’s
Pavilion home PCs. Based on standard, outsourced designs, the Brio is an MNC
brand at a very low cost, helped by local assembly in
Bangalore. It pushed HP’s PC numbers to over 60,000 in
1999-00, with sales touching 25,000 units in 2000’s first quarter (IDC
estimates)–making HP the leading MNC PC brand in India in that quarter.
HP in India will follow global HP plans
for bazaars for wireless e-services such as personal banking or stock trading
for mobile users–using HP ISO in Bangalore as a base. HP is also pushing
servers and services to ISPs and ASPs, with its new HP-UX 11i OS upgrade for the
HP 9000 servers. The low-end NetServers are however the most successful in
India, with at least one sub-Rs 1 lakh model made in Bangalore.
Peripherals continue to be a big chunk
of HP revenues in India, with DeskJets and LaserJets almost level in their
contributions. The inkjet market, with high numbers, low prices and razor-thin
margins, is especially important for the consumables revenues that add to HP’s
bottomline. Portables is not yet a focus area, and HP sold only about 600
Omnibook notebooks in corporate deals. Distributor HOPE also sells a few HP
HP India will continue to try and build corporate
desktop numbers, and services and enterprise systems. It will also consolidate
its storage revenues and margins, while protecting its peripherals turf from an
aggressive Epson et al. But the challenge will be to make its presence felt in
the increasingly crowded world of e-biz infrastructure providers. DQ