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October 2000

HP top execs give 3000 airtime in keynote

Fiorina mentions 3000 in speech before its customers

At long last, the e3000 got corporate attention from the HP CEO. The mention came before the faithful customers at HP World, when Carly Fiorina began her introductory video keynote with a story of how the e3000 represents HP’s willingness to satisfy customers.

“HP World has grown out of a single customer commitment, one that has lasted 27 years,” Fiorina said. “In 1972 HP introduced the HP 3000, our first multipurpose enterprise computer, a product that has been praised as one of the computer industry’s more enduring success stories.”

“But it didn’t begin that way,” she added. “In fact by many counts it got off to quite a rocky start. The first few systems were plagued by software glitches. And Dave Packard’s personal commitment to his customers turned the HP 3000 story around dramatically. First he sent teams of engineers to work around the clock until the system worked flawlessly. Second, he made sure that any customer upgrades could be easily integrated into existing 3000s. And thanks to his promise to be flexible and grow with the customer, what we’re now calling the e3000 has experienced almost three decades of success, and continues to thrive with a loyal following.”

“It is out of enduring commitments like these that HP World’s success has grown, and the reason I’d like to report on the progress we’ve made during the last year,” she said in wrapping up her direct comments on the 3000. Fiorina said HP has reduced its 83 product groups into “roughly a dozen holistically managed product families.” HP has restructured, she said, so the company isn’t managed as a group of silo businesses.

Fiorina said the changes will help make HP “a company customers can always count on, to encourage and create incentives for our employees and partners to go the extra mile — to help our customers become more successful. This also means providing the customer with a single point of contact for all interactions — whether it’s to buy a printer, an HP e3000 system, or strategies to transform their business processes.”

The CEO’s remarks introduced a keynote speech by Ann Livermore, an HP Vice President managing the company’s sales force and $35 billion of its $50 billion of business. Livermore was quoted in the press as identifying only Unix, Linux and NT as HP’s strategic operating systems, To correct that misconception, she began repairs in front of the offended parties, using her keynote speech to include the e3000’s MPE/iX in the strategic category for the company.

“We deliver solutions that integrate well in a company’s existing environment,” Livermore said. “We clearly believe that one size does not fit all.” The President of HP’s Business Customer Organization then paused, and said “I think I see some hands raising, and some yellow t-shirts in the audience,” a reference to the e3000 Who Knew? shirts among the crowd. “Did I perhaps forget to mention something? HP-UX, Linux, NT and of course, MPE/iX.” About 10 seconds of applause followed, and then Livermore continued.

“Now some of you have rightly criticized us in the past few weeks or months for at times not including and not mentioning MPE/iX as we talked about our multi-OS strategy. I want you to be convinced and secure that it is right at the heart of our strategy. It’s the proven workhorse just keeps on trucking. The HP e3000 server and the MPE/iX operating system is really very critical to us, as we know it is to you as well. In fact, we love the HP e3000. We know it has a big fan club, and I certainly read all my mail from those of you who sent me comments about the articulation of our strategy. As Carly mentioned, we invented this box 27 years ago, and like the Volkswagen Beetle, it is still one of the best things around.”

Not all of her comments were effusive praise of the platform in front of those that know the product well. “Now, I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that it’s the wave of the future,” Livermore added. “But it works, and it really works good. Our commitment is that with the e3000 you can very successfully evolve and very painlessly move to an Internet e-services world.

“We know that you count on the e3000 as part of an always-on infrastructure, and also that it needs to continue to deliver competitive price performance,” she said, adding another promise. “It’s a great platform. We really appreciate the strong loyalty you’ve shown HP, and we commit to show that loyalty back to you. If you ever want to transition to another operating environment, we intend to be the best possible partner to help you do that. And if you want to use the e3000 forever, that’s great, too.”


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