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IBM vs. HP: The Dueling Shows in Vegas

In Las Vegas this week two large vendors were dueling it out, as HP Discover and IBM Edge fought for attention and relevance.

At one point, these two companies looked a lot like each other. But over time HP has been pummeled by a series of CEOs, while IBM has been trimmed and refined after a successful turnaround a decade ago. Now it feels like the companies are vastly different, and the advantages and disadvantages of each have become much more pronounced.
Edge vs. Discover

You can almost start with the names of the events to get a sense for where these two companies now are. Edge implies a competitive edge that IBM is promising to supply their customers, while Discover is more of a “look at us we are different than what you remember us to be” kind of event.

This, more than anything else, likely points to the very different place both companies find themselves. IBM is much more assured, having had a relatively consistent face over the last decade with two sequential internal CEO hires executing a very consistent strategy. On the other hand, HP has had vastly different CEOs who found it impossible to retain their jobs. And its external image varied as much as the CEOs did.
Focus vs. Diversity

IBM went through a traditional turnaround effort. While at the start it was as diversified, maybe even more so, than HP is, currently IBM is vastly more focused.


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