Meg Whitman: Traditional PCs drive growth, not just tablets

HP CEO says PC market contraction is slowing and customers need more than just a tablet for 'real work.'

HP Spectre 13 with touch display: HP CEO Meg Whitman said commercial notebook sales grew double digits year-over-year.
HP Spectre 13 with touch display: HP CEO Meg Whitman said commercial notebook sales grew double digits year-over-year. Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard executives had a lot of positive things to say about PCs in the company's earnings conference call on Thursday. And CEO Meg Whitman said she's seeing renewed interest in traditional PCs over tablets in business.

"There is some momentum in a long overdue PC refresh. What I think commercial customers are understanding from their employees, while they may want a tablet, they actually also need more traditional compute devices to do their real work," Whitman said during the company's earnings conference call for the first quarter of 2014. In the quarter, HP delivered better than expected results.

Whitman isn't completely discounting tablets by any means. For example, she cited the new Slate 7 VoiceTab and Slate 6 "phablet" as promising new products in India.

Another factor driving the growth of traditional PCs in business is the transition from Windows XP. She said that there is a "bit of a tailwind on the migration from XP."

"Overall, the PC market contraction is slowing and we see signs of stabilization," according to Whitman.

Whitman added that the "commercial segment," aka business PCs, was particularly strong, with revenue grew 4 percent over the prior year.

Revenue in personal systems was $8.5 billion, up 3.6 percent year over year. And commercial notebooks "grew double digits" over the prior year period, said Catherine Lesjak, HP's chief financial officer.

Total unit shipments grew 6 percent year over year, with growth in both consumer and commercial segments, Lesjak said.

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