January 8, 2002 6:55 PM PST
Fiorina pictures better photos from merger
Fiorina sees future in photos
Carly Fiorina, CEO, Hewlett-Packard
That was HP Chief Executive Carly Fiorina's message Tuesday as she defended the troubled merger plans during her keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show, a venue more concerned with cameras and TV sets than the PCs and servers that typically dominate HP presentations.
Fiorina managed to avoid discussing the $25 billion merger for most of her talk on digital imaging, except for a brief mention before she launched into a lengthy history of photography.
"Why am I talking about this?" she asked. "You're probably expecting to hear a stump speech about mergers and proxy votes and family legacies."
Her explanation was a rather oblique assurance that Compaq will help HP make better cameras and other digital-imaging products and services, partly through Compaq's leadership in "fault-tolerant computing," an area typically associated with million-dollar Unix servers.
"Our merger with Compaq will bolster our capabilities in all of these areas," Fiorina pledged.
But a friendly audience, made all the more so by HP giving away an armload of digital cameras, is too valuable to pass up. So Fiorina closed the speech with a pointed attempt to reclaim the HP legacy from Walter Hewlett and the other scions of founders William Hewlett and David Packard, who have led a proxy battle to defeat the Compaq merger.
"For most of us at HP, the images that inspire and move us most...are images of William Hewlett and David Packard," she said, launching into a history of HP and how strategic mergers and acquisitions fit into the corporate legacy.
"Every step along the way, there have been skeptics who said it won't work, it's not the HP Way," Fiorina said, recounting advances such as laser printing. "The people of HP have always known that the only constant in this industry is change."
Fiorina said that while the founders focused on research and innovation, "they also chose to acquire companies whose technologies and products complemented their own."
"To the skeptics who say it won't work...that it's not the HP Way, I say you don't know the people of the new HP," Fiorina concluded, exiting the stage to the strains of John Mellencamp crooning "C'mon baby take a ride with me."
Fiorina fends off merger skeptics
Carly Fiorina, CEO, Hewlett-Packard
She demonstrated a printer with a color LCD screen that can preview a photo before printing it and a multifunction scanner/printer that can print a contact sheet of multiple photos. Mark the photos you want printed and feed the sheet into the scanner, and the printer goes to work.
Both are examples of the simplification Fiorina said is necessary as digital imaging goes mainstream. "This is a product engineered to get the job done," she said of the scanner/printer.
That philosophy also underlies the upcoming PhotoSmart 812 camera, which will include Instant Share, technology that allows camera users to print or e-mail photos by pressing one or two buttons on the camera.
The end result of much of this streamlining is to cut the PC out of the digital photography process, but Fiorina said the workhorse of the digital world will simply be elevated to a more complex role in the process. "PCs will play an incredibly important role in making digital imaging more accessible," she said.
Fiorina also touted HP's acclaimed research labs, working on projects such as ways digital cameras can work in cell phones. And she said HP servers, storage systems and other back-room equipment will play a vital role in improving the way digital photos are shared.
Even though HP is hardly synonymous with cameras, it is the company best poised to exploit the shift to digital photography, she said.
"Kodak can't deliver the depth of innovation we've described," Fiorina said. "Neither can Sony or Canon."