March 2, 1999 5:25 PM PST

Platt: HP to unveil "e-services" soon

Hewlett-Packard will begin to offer customers storage and computing capacity on a rental basis, act as a secure backbone for electronic commerce transactions, and unveil other "e-services" in the near future as part of an effort to drive more revenue from the Internet, CEO Lew Platt said today.

The e-services strategy, which will be detailed in the coming weeks, is part and parcel of the overall reorganization and revitalization effort announced this morning by HP.

Under the plan, HP will spin off its testing and measurement division into a separate company. And, while the remaining computing company will stay in one piece for now, the company is going to vigorously work to change its culture to make a company that is "a little more agile, a little tougher," Platt said in an interview.

"There are a lot of really good things about the HP culture," he said, but added that in recent years it may have become "a little too familiar, maybe not focused enough on results."

E-services can be looked at as sophisticated search or transaction services. Right now, people search the Internet for information and e-commerce, but it isn't easy, said Platt. A user might reserve hotels and reservations on one site, gather data on a different one, and conduct banking operations on another, but not in the same spot.

"If you try to do something complex, it is not a good service agent."

HP will try to make money two ways in e-services: by selling hardware and software to customers who want to provide services online and by operating its own front-end services, he said. "There is an opportunity to get directly involved in some of these services areas," he said. One example, he added, would lay in renting storage or server capacity.

Along with the services push, HP will also continue to expand into intelligent devices. Many of these devices will be logical extensions of HP's printing and scanning divisions. "We are going to do a lot of things in the specialized device area," he said.

The Internet focus will also give the company an identity that's easier to grasp in the marketplace. "A lot of people say, 'Gee. What does HP stand for?' What is Sun's message. 'We put the dot in dot.com.' We don't have that," he said.

Although Platt today said he would step down from the CEO role, many of these plans will roll in during his tenure. He is not expected to step down for 12 to 18 months, he said.

 

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