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HP's PC dreams

newsmaker Vyomesh Joshi, leader of HP's printer unit, talks about the latest addition to his responsibilities--the PC business.

Vyomesh Joshi's plate just got a whole lot fuller.

Already charged with managing Hewlett-Packard's precious printer unit, as well as overseeing the company's push into consumer electronics, Joshi was on Friday given the added responsibility of running HP's PC business.

By combining the printer and PC units, HP is fusing its cash cow with a unit that has struggled to achieve consistent profitability for several years. Combining business units is not a new tactic for HP, which has already merged its high-end computing and services businesses into a single "technology solutions group."

In an interview with CNET News.com, Joshi talked about how he'll keep from losing focus, why the move makes sense, and why the shift should finally put to rest speculation that HP might spin out its printer business. CEO Carly Fiorina said HP has considered and rejected that move three times.

Q: What is the practical impact of combining the units, aside from reporting combined financial results?
A: Taking these two organizations and making them one organization, we can have an effective reduction in time to market. For example, the work we have done in digital photography, we can take it to the next level. In this market we have to move fast.

Will combining the units save money and if so, how much?
These changes were made more for profit growth than cost savings. We want to drive profitable growth for HP.

These changes were made more for profit growth than cost savings.

Will there be any layoffs, other than possibly some upper management changes?
There are no plans for layoffs because of this change.

Some have called for HP to spin off the printer unit. This seems like a further statement from HP that it is going in a different direction.
Absolutely right. This clearly contradicts any suggestions of a spinoff.

In the past, HP has had some challenges when it has tried to bring together sales forces. What will this mean for the ways HP sells its products, both internal sales force and channel?
We don't need to make those kinds of changes here. We have a clear consumer sales force who reported to me and the channel organization that reported to (outgoing PC head) Dwayne (Zitzner). There's no need to change that.

In combining the units, your responsibility grows. You were already heading up both the printer business and the consumer effort. Will this take away some of the focus that you had?
In my mind, the most important thing is this is right for the business. I will have the right team to make this work. This is a great opportunity for HP to utilize our portfolio and drive profitable growth.

Do you think you need to bring in someone to run the PC business?
That is not necessary in my mind.

HP already made a similar move before when it combined the services and enterprise computing businesses. Analysts say that move has done little, other than to get of rid a few top executives. How do you see it?
That combination has really helped us from a customer experience standpoint, and it has helped us in profitable growth. I think it?s the same kind of synergy I see in this combination. Combining these two will also free capacity and resources.

What are some goals we can look to see if this merging of units succeeds?
We just started. I'm working on our plans, and I will absolutely lay out those plans.

Will you continue to break out separately the sales and profitability of PCs?
Absolutely. That is a very important requirement for us. We want to make sure there is a transparency in terms of printing and imaging (results) and PC (results).