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HP Plots Storage Comeback

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) CFO Bob Wayman says he hopes an improved product portfolio and beefed-up sales staff will help HPs beleaguered storage business bounce back. However, he cautioned that it will take time to fix problems that had been brewing for at least a year.

Speaking at the SG Cowen Securities Fall Technology Conference in Boston earlier this week, Wayman said HP’s storage sales suffered because it let its storage product portfolio and number of storage sales specialists slip.

HP's total storage revenue of $709 million last quarter was down 15 percent from the same quarter last year. That prompted CEO Carly Fiorina to fire three executives last month within hours of announcing the company’s quarterly earnings (see HP Storage Slammed).

As evidence that HP is addressing its storage problem, Wayman pointed to new products -- including the Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) high-end storage system that HP will resell as the StorageWorks XP12000 Disk Array -- and an increase in the sales staff. (See Hitachi Struts Mr. Universal and HP Unveils High-End Array.)

“I think our problems in the storage area were not unique to Q3,” Wayman told analysts. “We’ve had somewhat disappointing storage results for several quarters, although Q3 was the worst. We had two issues. Our product portfolio has not been as strong as it was a year or two ago. Also, the go-to-market effectiveness of our storage sales force has weakened in the last year or so.”

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