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HP Rethinks Storage Plays

HP, stung by poor storage performance in its recent fourth-quarter results, is rethinking its strategy for 2007 -- but buying Symantec won't be part of it, according to execs at the company's annual meeting for securities analysts in New York today. (See HP Reports Q4.)

"We have a lot of work to do -- we know that we can do better in our market position," explained Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group, which encompasses the vendor's storage business.

In a separate presentation, HP CEO Mark Hurd made it clear that doing better will include M&A, but he scotched recent rumors that the vendor is planning to acquire Symantec. "We will do targeted M&A, but you should not expect us to do big acquisitions," he said.

To illustrate this point, HP's outgoing CFO, Bob Wayman, predicted acquisition spending over the coming year in line with the $1 billion the company has spent annually on M&A since 2004, with the exception of the $4.5 billion Mercury Interactive deal. (See HP Purchases Mercury, HP Extends Offer, and HP Finalizes Mercury Buy.)

"We will continue to focus our M&A efforts around services and software," Wayman said.

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