In this weekend's Barron's (sub. req.), Mark Veverka takes a closer look at Hewlett Packard's data storage unit, which is in recovery after decline during the Carly Fiorina years. Key excerpts:
Don't sell Hewlett-Packard's enterprise-hardware business short under new Chief Executive Mark Hurd -- especially in data storage. As much as Network Appliance Chief Executive Daniel Warmenhoven would like to emphasize that the long-term battle for supremacy in enterprise storage is a two-horse race between EMC (EMC) and Net App (NASDAQ:NTAP), the refocused Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is not about to sit idly by...
storage became a bit of a mess under Fiorina, with top storage executives from the Compaq side defecting to EMC after storage operations were subordinated under computer servers in her post-merger corporate hierarchy... [HP's storage head Bob Schultz] maintains that his group is back on track, pointing out that total storage revenue increased 17% during the recent, fiscal fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, after improving 15% during the previous quarter.
HP underwent a major product re-fresh in May -- the first one in a long time -- which is also helping jump-start sales in the ever-important network-storage market... Of course, that performance is against weak comparable quarters, especially the third fiscal quarter of 2004, which was a bit of a disaster.
HPQ 1-yr chart: