A Look Back at HP’s Recent PC Strategy + Payoffs

At CES last week we got a chance to see exactly what’s behind the buzz in mobile: every major manufacturer launched at least one smartphone, tablet, phablet or some other  mobile device with its own unique branding.  But while the personal computer was not the center of attention by any stretch of the imagination, it too had a spot reserved at the convention.

Hewlett-Packard is one of the several vendors that unveiled their newest Windows-powered machines at the Las Vegas tradeshow. The $1400, ultra high resolution HP Envy 14 Spectre laptop was on display at the company’s booth alongside the 3-pound EliteBook Revolve, a Windows 8 machine with a rotatable touch screen display. You can’t detach the screen and use it as a tablet, but HP is certainly a step closer to making that happen.

While there’s no question that the explosive growth of the mobile market correlates with the decline in worldwide PC demand, the personal computer isn’t out of the picture  – for the time being at least.  And that’s great news for HP, which has just reclaimed the title of top PC manufacturer back from Lenovo for Q4 2012.

The 0.7 percent sales lead Hewlett-Packard gained over the Chinese manufacturer in the past quarter is the direct result of smart decision-making. Meg Whitman has been doing more than just mopping up after her predecessors’ failed M&A strategy: she committed to Windows 8 and gave the go-ahead to a completely new design philosophy.

In September HP announced that is stepping up its game with high-end PCs in the same league as Apple’s Macintosh computers, only Windows based. The company declared at the time that it has doubled its design team to craft a new look for its laptops.

The strategy seems to be working for HP, with fresh blood in personnel and operations.  Lenovo made waves when it unseated HP as the top PC manufacturer in the world, and we’ll have to see a much more focused effort from HP if they hope to maintain their reclaimed lead over Lenovo, now out to topple Apple in the smartphone market as well.