Duane Zitzner considers every product in his HP family
an apt solution. But asking him to focus HPs attention on a
single child doesnt fit the current corporate philosophy. This
executive elected a vice president of the company in 1996 reports
directly to CEO Carly Fiorina, and is in charge of product technology
and development for all of HPs computer products and systems.
Zitzner also sits on the HP Executive Council. He is responsible for
HPs computer products and systems, including commercial and
home PCs, HP NetServers, Unix servers, storage, and software products
such as OpenView. And yes, even the HP 3000. He receives a report
from the Business Critical Computing organization that contains HP
e3000, HP 9000 and business intelligence storage products.
Zitzner also manages HPs investments in computer
technology and ensures proper resource allocation for the entire
Computing Systems segment. He came to HP from IBM in 1989, joining as
a section manager in the Roseville Networks Division in California,
and was quickly promoted to R&D manager of the Network
Architecture Lab. In 1991, he was named general manager of a PC
division which became the Network Server Division in 1993. He was
named general manager of the Networked Systems Business Unit in 1994,
was promoted to general manager of the Personal Information Products
Group in 1996.
Zitzner was named HPs President of Computing Systems
last fall, part of a move that also gave Ann Livermore a presidential
post. Fiorina said that Zitzner is one of our brightest and
most aggressive technologists, and said is responsible
for HPs software stack. This includes software that
differentiates HPs systems and multiplatform software
businesses. Zitzner began his career as a programmer at Univac,
so his vantage point on the HP business can often be a technical one.
We put questions to him that some customers asked while MPE was
absent from the companys communications outside the
platforms customer base We wanted to know what the product
chief believes a mention of the 3000 to analysts and the general
market might do for HP, and what the platforms prospects are
for becoming a multiplatform solution once again.
Is the HP e3000s operating environment as
strategic to HP as Unix, NT or Linux?
Its strategic, is the way that Id put it. I
say that in the sense that what happened was that we were looking at
Linux, HP-UX and NT, and we didnt talk about very important and
very strategic operating systems like MPE, like NetWare. Theres
a whole bunch of them we didnt talk about, and it got totally
taken out of proportion to what it was. It got escalated and should
never have gotten there. Lots of people got all wrapped around an
axle and shouldnt have had to do that.
Thats as much our fault as anybodys, but it
goes back to snippets and trying to put them together.
There may be a lot of tea-leaf reading going on. But I
think what the 3000 customers want to know is, Am I as
important to HP as the owners of the other operating systems HP seems
to get asked about? Are they?
answer to that is that its based on customers. Customer needs
and customer wants drive what we do, in every way, shape and form
inside of HP. If we have customers that want certain technologies,
were going to be working on those technologies. And we are
today in the area of the 3000. Weve got a lot of work going on
in that space, and it will continue as we move forward. Everything
comes back to our customer.
And let us not forget: Youve got the Unix wars, and
thats between Solaris, HP-UX and AIX. The other guys, like
True64, are having difficulties. You have lots of stuff going on in
the marketplace with datacenter and Microsoft NT, and Linux is the
new upstart thats in this space. All the press, your peers in
the industry, thats what theyre writing about. This
morning when I gave my talk, I talked about the imperatives that we
in HP have to drive on. One of them was reliability, and I said
Let me show you the example of what is the ultimate in
reliability. Its an MPE 3000 machine.
The machine has been around for three decades, and you
know, you get it right for sure if youre there.
What factors have led to the decision to present the e3000
platform as a niche solution? Under what conditions could this
decision be reversed?
This has been driven by the customers. Its all
other words, if sales go up and people begin to ask for the 3000,
then youll reconsider its place?
still is based on if youre a customer and youre buying
product, Ive got to be able to solve your problem to
help you, with me, solve that problem. Based on the needs youve
got and the tool bag Ive got well decide how were
going to solve your problem. Everythings driven by
applications. We focus too much on the OS and the hardware, but the
reality is that its above that. Its the solution.
think the situation gets to be a chicken-and-egg kind of thing,
though. The application suppliers arent eager to get into a
market where there isnt a lot of news or a lot of activity.
Without those suppliers, HP wont take the 3000 out of the
niche, and put it more into the multipurpose mainstream. Am I getting
Thats a fair way of saying it. Were using the
same physical hardware now on the 3000, and weve moved the 3000
into the whole e-world. Theres a whole bunch of things. You say
its a niche, okay, but given where its at, the stuff that
were doing is an attempt to make it as successful as it
possibly can be.
What should HP do to put such an environment, invented at
HP, on an equal footing with environments not invented at HP but
offered by competitors?
know. But HP-UX is our own system too. Linux is open source, and in
the case of NT, that comes from Microsoft.
Should the fact that MPE is HPs invention earn it a
little extra place in HPs plans?
Its all driven by business and customers. Weve
got to have that in order to stay in business. If I cant sell
the products, I cant generate the revenue and the margin to pay
the salaries to keep the business running the way we want it to go.
Its your chicken and egg problem all over again.
you want to break that chicken and egg stalemate?
would love to, if youve got the crystal ball to tell me how to
Someone has to start, dont they? Either the
application suppliers, or HP, right? Why not HP?
Youre making the assumption that HP doesnt
want to break it. The reality is that its driven by the
solutions guys. Sometimes you cant even throw money at people
to have them do it. Then you have to say, Where does this
product really peak? Where is it really good, for what things?
Then if you get something that will really fly, you will attract the
appropriate solutions guys because it excels. And the customer
doesnt care whats underneath, typically.
seems like the dot-com businesses and e-commerce companies would e a
pretty good horse to ride with the 3000. Theres some great
profiles of successful customers out there what do you
agree. The product can do just fine for those who have a certain
sense of this is what I want to go do. You said its
a niche; I dont know if it is or not. Its definitely a
certain segment of the market that the product appeals to. We need to
make sure that we have the continued focus on the stuff where it is
What will the platforms prospects for being a
multipurpose solution be governed by? How many people ask for as
Yeah, it will come back to that. I would say that the
focused solution is probably where its going to be. But again,
the better person to ask that of is [division GM] Winston Prather.
What are the long-term objectives that HPs Corporate
Managers desire to achieve by not mentioning MPE outside of the
installed e3000 base? Did you have something in mind when MPE
didnt appear on the corporate radar screen?
What do you mean it doesnt appear on HPs radar
screen? Because its on mine.
the message thats communicated to the rest of the world,
its not, is it?
Well, Ill change that statement. Reality wise, when
we put together this multi-OS strategy and Ive been
working on this a long time its based on customers and
what Im hearing as Im talking to people. What Im
seeing going on in the market place, where are the ISVs working.
Weve got to make sure were peaked up in those spaces.
went through that process, and I was so focused in those areas, it
was like what happened this morning. One guy said, Your speech
would have been perfect, if youd have talked more about
services and solutions than you did. That was a little bit like
what happened with that communique. I put together, based on what we
thought were the things that it was an oversight.
Netware wasnt mentioned, and thats something
like 25 percent of our NetServer business, which is huge. If you look
at it, theres a whole bunch of things that didnt appear
on there because of the process we ran. I have been active in
publishing what were doing to our employees, because I want
people to know where its heading. If theres something
missing, tell us. Well, we heard. And we said, Oh, that was a
Is it HPs place to create demand for a computing
solution that it has invented? Are you still in the demand creation
Im not, because Im the product guy. I build
products. Were doing a very different kind of demand creation
inside of HP today. The way were going about the product stuff,
were really trying to have a more unified approach. In the
past, we would have had the silo mentality. Were going to
inundate the market with everything we do and flood the market. If
you look at our TV ads, very much were on the brand. In our
print ads, theres lots of products you dont see like you
used to see. All the money used to be at the product level, and now
Thats a choice point we made as a corporation. We
were fragmenting the brand. What happened what that it wasnt
Hewlett-Packard that was important, it was 3000. Or 9000, or
NetServer or Vectra. And thats not a brand. Hewlett-Packard is
How much difference do you believe HP corporate-level
support of the e3000 makes to the products prospects, and its
customers potential for success? Your leading solution provider
for the platform is having trouble with sales because their prospects
have never heard of the 3000.
This is a downside. I dont know how much difference
it can make. I cant quantify that. Let me tell you, this is a
problem when you have all these products. And Ive got a lot of
them, and for me to talk about all of them and by the way the
same can be said about lots more things, like our networking business
I can talk about PC business but I may not talk about
notebooks. Servers versus consumer. Its very difficult to deal
with the spread of what weve got, because were a very big
Does it make a difference? I think it does. But the
reality is that you cant talk about everything all the time.
Its not like children. You dont just have however many
you might have. You have a bunch, and we have a lot of them.
Its very difficult to talk about all these different things.
After a while you get so fragmented. What Im attempting to do
is hit on as many of the different areas as I could. I used Pavilion
in an example of the speed of our life cycles. I never talked about
networking, and I think I talked about ChangeEngine. But I will
guarantee you somebody will ask me why I didnt talk about
something. Too much of this and it becomes a blur, it doesnt
become meaningful anymore.