Hewlett Packard And Its International Economy

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Since the end of the Cold War, globalization has led to an unprecedented expansion of multinational companies. Nowadays the multinational corporations are the most flexible actors which support globalization. Such companies have offices and/or factories in different countries and usually have a centralized head office where they co-ordinate global management.

Hewlett-Packard is the world's leading information technology company and therewith one of these multinational corporations. The company offers a wide product range from personal computers, notebooks, servers, storage, printers, scanners, and digital cameras to IT services. This multinational features a phenomenal growth history as it has developed from a "one-car-garage" in Palo Alto, with a working capital of $ 538 in 1938 to a leading global provider with about $ 115 billion revenue in 2009.

In this paper the internal and external environment factors effecting Hewlett-Packard's business are being analyzed. The first part will give an introduction to the company itself, followed by the industry's economic features and competitive environment. Global competition becomes harder from one day to another and Hewlett-Packard has to face different competitors in all seven business segments. The question is, can HP continue its success story and beat its global competitors?

Index of contents


Index of figures


Index of tables


List of abbreviations

ALM Applications Lifecycle Management

APAC Asia-Pacific

EMEA Europe, the Middle East and Africa

ESS Enterprise Storage and Services

GATT General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade

GHG Green House Gas

HP Hewlett-Packard

HPFS Hewlett-Packard Financial Services

HVD Hosted Virtual Desktops

IDC International Data Corporation

IPG Imaging and Printing Group

ISS Internet Security Systems

IT Information Technology

MNC Multinational Corporation

PC Personal Computer

PSG Personal Systems Group

SLA Service Level Agreement

TNC Transnational Corporation

USA United States of America

WTO World Trade Organization


Company Profile

Figure : Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard [1] 

Hewlett-Packard Company (also referred to as HP) is a giant multinational information technology corporation with its headquarters in Palo Alto, California, USA. The company was founded in 1939, by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. Their first product built in a one-car garage in Palo Alto was an audio oscillator - an electric test instrument used by sound engineers. And one of their first customers was Walt Disney Studios. They purchased eight oscillators to develop and test an innovative sound system for the movie "Fantasia". But what first was a project in a one-car garage, turned out to be one of the world's largest information technology companies, operating in nearly every country. [2] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b8/Bill_and_dave.jpg

The HP Way:

The company's competitive advantage lays in the depth, breadth, and vitality that comes alive daily through the firm's values. HP values are not really different from most major companies, but what makes the HP Way unique, is the seriousness with which the values are treated as a management tool. Hewlett-Packard's managers regularly discuss and assess the vitality of the HP Way, which results in corrective action to ensure its continued viability.

HP has achieved "what appears to be the greatest dichotomy: creating an environment that celebrates individualism, but at the same time one that is also wholly supportive of teamwork. People are taught to engage in cross-functional teams, but they are also rated on the performance of decentralized business units and personal achievement. [3] 

HP's Business Sectors:

During the year 2009, HP's operations were organized into seven business segments: [4] 


The services segment extends consulting, outsourcing and technology services to infrastructure, applications and business process domains.

Enterprise Storage and Servers (''ESS'')

This is the largest business segment of the company, which enables enterprise and midsize business customers. It encompasses server and storage hardware, technology consulting and software sales.

HP Software

The HP Software portfolio consists of Enterprise IT management software, information management and business intelligence solutions, as well as communications and media solutions.

Personal Systems Group (''PSG'')

This business group provides desktop and notebook personal computers, workstations, handheld computers, calculators, software, and accessories. PSG manages HP's small and medium-size business and commercial reseller channels, as well as volume direct sales of commercial PCs and entry-level to mid-range servers.

Imaging and Printing Group (''IPG'')

The IPG supports amateurs and professional to get really graphic. This section of HP offers printers, copiers, scanners and related supplies. The unit also offers digital cameras and specialty photo printers and operates online photo services.

HP Financial Services (''HPFS'')

This unit provides global leasing and financial asset management solutions including cost-effective leasing offers, trade-in programs, asset management and asset recovery.

Corporate Investments and Others

Corporate Investments includes HP Laboratories, network infrastructure products, mobile devices and certain business incubation projects. The segment also includes certain video collaboration products sold under the brand Halo and Palm smart phones.

HP offers a broad product range including personal computers, notebooks, servers, storage, printers, scanners, calculators, digital cameras and IT services. The company features a phenomenal growth history as it has developed from a "one-car-garage" in Palo Alto, with a working capital of $ 538 in 1938 to a leading global provider of information technology, with about $ 115 billion revenue in 2009. [5] 

Figure : Revenue by region, fiscal year 2009 [6] 

Pie chart

yellow Americas Europe 44%

orange Middle East and Africa 39%

red Asia Pacific and Japan 17%

Figure : Revenue by segment, fiscal year 2009 [7] 

Pie chart

yellow Personal Systems Group 31%

orange Services 30%

red Imaging and Printing Group 21%

medblue Enterprise Storage and Servers 13%

green HP Software 3%

pink HP Financial Services and other 2%

HP provides products, technologies, services and solutions for individual customers as well as large businesses. However, as the market grows, global competition gets more challenging from day to day. International business comprises a large and growing portion of the world's total business and therefore it is really important to know what international business is about and how it works. Today, almost all companies, large and small, are affected by global events and competition because most sell output to and/ or secure suppliers from foreign countries or compete against products and services that come from abroad.

Within this paper we will discuss some very important aspects of international economics, in matters of Hewlett-Packard. The company has to face different competitors in every single one of its seven business sectors and the question is, if the company will be able to keep up its success and beat its global competitors in the future?

This question will be answered as we take a closer look at the company's internal and external environment factors effecting Hewlett-Packard's businesses. Thereby the industry's economic features and competitive environment, e.g. market segments, market size and growth, competition and driving forces are studied.

Personal Systems Group

The global PC market grew permanently during the past 5 years. It could be stated that the worldwide PC vendor unit shipment increased continuously from 212 million in 2005 to 271 million in 2007 and 306 million in 2009.

Global PC sale in 2009:

Thanks to strong PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 the global PC market closed the year with a remarkable 2.3 percent year-on-year growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) this trend lead to a new record in the United States. Nearly 20.7 million units were shipped during the fourth quarter of 2009, which resulted in a year-on-year growth of 24 percent. Worldwide, shipments increased by about 15.2 percent, particularly in Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

The global top five PC vendors are HP, DELL, ACER, LENOVO (former IBM) and TOSHIBA, whereby DELL and ACER fought for the second place in 2009. HP dominated the market by shipping nearly 59 million units worldwide, due to robust customers and mobile PC sales. This means that HP could maintain its leadership grapping a market share of about 20 percent.

Table : PC shipment and market share of worldwide vendors (2008 - 2009) [8] 


Shipments (2009)

Market Share (2009)

Shipments (2008)

Market Share (2008)

2009 - 2008 Growth (%)













Dell Inc.






























Global PC sale in 2010:

Worldwide PC shipments were expected to reach 376.6 million units in 2010, an increase of 22 per cent compared to 305.8 million units shipped in 2009, according to a forecast by Gartner. [9] HP again dominated during the second quarter in 2010, by shipping 14.4 million units, increasing 12 percent from the 12.8 million units it shipped during the second quarter in 2009. Acer held second position with 10.8 million shipped units - a whopping 31.6 percent jump form the 8.2 million shipped in 2009. Third in line is Dell with 10.2 million shipped units during this period. This lead to a 19 percent increase over the 8.6 million units from 2009. Lenovo, ASUS and Toshiba doubled their shipment growth with ASUS's unit volume growing by nearly 80 percent. [10] 

Figure : Worldwide PC shipment Q2 2010 Ranking [11] 

Worldwide PC shipments surpassed 88.3 million units in the third quarter of 2010. This means a 7.6 percent increase from the third quarter in 2009. HP remained No. 1, but had to suffer from a slight decline in shipments in that quarter. Acer experienced a decline in shipments of about 1.7 percent, whereas Dell showed solid growth across most regions. Lenovo showed the strongest growth among the top five vendors worldwide. [12] 

As shown in table 2 the growth rate of the global PC market varies between several demographical regions. In the last few years the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was the largest PC market, followed by Asia/ Pacific. The US market holds the third place, followed by Latin America on the fourth place and Japan on place number five.

Table : PC unit shipment and growth in different regions (Q3 2010 - Q3 2009) [13] 


Q3 2010

Shipments (in units)

Q3 2009 - Q3 2010

Growth (%)










Latin America









Forecast for 2011:

Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to reach 409 million units and therewith a 15.9 percent increase from 2010. According to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, there are several challenges for the PC industry in the future: [14] 

Emerging Markets Continue Drive Growth:

Emerging markets are predicted to gain more than 50 percent of the total worldwide PC market by the end of 2011. In emerging markets there is a good chance that consumers won't be following the traditional pattern of purchasing a PC as their first computing device, but move directly to alternative devices.

Consumer Wallet Continues to Shrink:

Recent studies showed that consumers in the U.S. and Western Europe continue to think twice about buying something in the face of financial and economic uncertainty. But this is by far not the biggest problem for the PC industry. According to Gartner, consumers are switching to media tablets instead of PCs.

Challenge of Emerging Devices:

Media tablet capabilities are expected to become more PC-like in the future. This might pull away consumers from the PC and lead to a decrease in PC shipments.

Extended Life Cycle Impact:

Consumers won't have to replace their PCs that often anymore, due to an extension of the PC lifecycle.

Uptake of Thin Clients:

Hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) are expected to have a mature impact on the PC market in the near future. New lineups of desktops, thin clients and monitors improve productivity, performance and energy efficiency.

The Digital Camera Market vs. The Global Smartphone Market

The Digital Camera Market:

The digital camera market shifted fast from a growth stage to a mature stage in only a few years, but its glory is about to come to an end. Analysts form iSuppli predict a modest growth during the next few years followed by a decline as camera phones take over. It will remain a huge market, with tons of million units sold annually, but just not as big as it used to be after it peaks in 2013. Experts say that during 2014 shipments are expected to decline 0.6 percent, to 135.4 million units. [15] 

Figure : Millions of cameras shipped [16] 

On the other side the cell phone cameras will increasingly become the primary image capture device for consumers. Especially the smartphone get a lot of attention, all of which have cameras with resolutions as high as 8 megapixels. People don't always carry their camera, but they never leave home without their cell phones. As camera phones improve LED flashes people are more likely to be satisfied with just the phone. Furthermore people can just use their smartphone and upload the pictures to Flickr or Facebook, e-mail them to friends etc.

Cameras are a major part of the electronic industry. The digital camera business is characterized by high competition, rapid growth but with low profit margins, fast product innovation, and a short life cycle. The market is overcrowded with several competitors. Major players are Canon Inc., Casio Computer Co., Ltd., Eastman Kodak Company, Fujifilm Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Leica Camera AG, Nikon Corporation, Olympus Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Ricoh Company Ltd., Sakar International Inc., Samsung Techwin Co. Ltd, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd, Seiko Epson Corporation, Sigma Corp., Sony Corporation, and Toshiba America Inc. [17] 

Figure : Digital camera brands global market share and shipments, 2009 - 2010 [18] 

HP and The Global Smartphone Market:

Smartphones, the fastest-growing segment of the mobile phone market, are also alluring. Worldwide smartphone shipments are set to rise to 247 million units in 2010, up 36 percent from 182 million in 2009, according to ISuppli Corp. Competition has become more challenging than ever in 2010, the barriers to market entry are lower than ever before and the leading mobile phone vendors and operators are investing in the smartphone segment. [19] The big players in the global smartphone market are Nokia, which leads with a market share of about 39.3 % in the first quarter of 2010, followed by RIM (19.4 %), Apple (16.1 %), HTC (4.8 %) and Motorola (4.2 %) and others (16.3 %).

Figure : Share of Smart Phone Market - IDC 2010 [20] 

Share of the smartphone market - IDC, 2010

In the U.S market RIM leads with 43 % market share, followed by Apple (25.1 %), Microsoft (15.7 %), Google (7.1 %), Palm (5.7 %) and others (3.4 %).

Figure : U.S. Smartphone Platform Market Share 2010 [21] 


Palm's share of the U.S. smartphone market fell from 9.4 percent in February 2009 to 5.4 percent in February 2010 and after a partnership in January to sell phones through Verizon Wireless failed to boost growth as much as analysts estimated the company put itself up for sale. HP acquired Palm, Inc in July 2010. at a price of $ 5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of about $ 1.2 billion and is now about to introduce smartphones using the webOS software.

The combination of HP's global scale and financial strength with Palms' unparalleled webOS platform will enhance HP's ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone connected mobile device markets. Furthermore it will allow HP to take advantage of features such as true multitasking and always up-to-date information sharing across application. HP is already a dominated force in PC's, servers, services and printers, but the smartphone market is a highly profitable market and will keep on growing in the future, and without a credible offering the company is risked being left behind.

"Palm's innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP's mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. [22] 

HP Software - A Growing Market

The HP Software Group - Increasing Market

The main goal of Hewlett-Packard's software group is to increase its market share for the Asia-Pacific region in 2011. HP's vice president, Robin Purohit, points out two specific areas that will help the company achieve its goal: indentified security and cloud computing. [23] 

Identified security:

Security software is an area of huge growth potential and many companies are looking to improve their core security capabilities. IBM took ISS (Internet Security Systems) off the market in 2006 and also bought Guardium (a market leader in real-time enterprise database monitoring and protection) in 2009, EMC owns RSA (Security Provider), and Intel is in the process of buying McAfee.

With its recent acquisition of ArcSight, which's software monitors corporate networks, and Fortify, which's software allows developers to layer in security and compliance protections throughout the application creation cycle, Hewlett-Packard is now playing catch-up. The company puts a lot of effort in building up its core competency and points out its focus on securing its software from the core and security reporting mechanism, rather than becoming just "another security vendor that sells perimeter security products". With these capabilities on hand HP will bring managed security services to companies in the Asia-Pacific region, more specifically looking to offer services that support security operations, such as the prevention and monitoring of threats like hacking.

Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is the management of disparate, virtualized datacenter systems. HP is aiming to help companies to manage their systems across the entire network infrastructure, meaning to provide companies with tools that will help them manage their SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and making sure IT vendors are delivering the agreed service.

According to Purohit, HP has a multiyear advantage over the other cloud management competitors such as CA Technologies, which acquired companies that were developing early-stage cloud technologies and is in a different playing field.

The Applications Lifecycle Management Suite - Future Opportunities

HP has additionally identified China, India and the Philippines as "huge opportunities" and therefore plans to target those flourishing outsourcing markets with its recently launched Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) suite. With its ALM tool HP does not only highlight the growing importance of software within the organization, but also fills a gap that the company's competition has failed to provide, the request for apps to be continually refreshed to reflect up-to-date capabilities.

Mark Sarbiewski, vice president of application solutions points out two very important components of the ALM suite.

Requirements Management 2011:

Business analysts will be able to move away from Microsoft Word, which is not ideal for their information to be stored, into an environment that retains most of the latter's features such as fonts and indentations. Furthermore they will be able to share their findings and reports via ALM in real-time.

HP Sprinter:

Manual testing processes will be automated. The technology is in the midst of being patented and will offer users the ability to test up to six different use cases simultaneously as well as "inject" data into specified fields of workflows, cutting down time and costs.

The ALM tool provides apps delivery from the inception of the software until its retirement and will also focus on extending beyond business apps to include mobile apps, which will also benefit app store operators. HP knows that mobile apps can make or break a brand and therefore the company is learning as much as it can about it through their partners to ensure that they get it right. The IT vendor for business apps will also include HP's WebOS system and mobile strategy following its acquisition of Palm in July.

HP Leads The Way in Sustainable Energy Efforts

The world's demand for energy is growing from one day to another. Consumption already grew by more than a third between 1990 and 2006, and is forecast to increase by another 44 percent by 2030. [24] But with the rising energy consumption the global greenhouse gas emissions will increase as well. HP knows that IT is responsible for about 2 percent of the global carbon footprint, but they also believe that technology has the potential to help reducing the other 98 percent. IT can help make processes more efficient in every industry. Innovative technologies can clear the way to more sustainable economic growth. At HP they are committed to ongoing innovation that makes IT more efficient. The company has become the leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has taken on the role of leader within the IT world. It has developed sophisticated tools for managing power usage and measuring the carbon emissions.

Figure : Greenhouse gas emissions, 2005 - 2009 (tonnes CO2e) [25] 

The company's approach towards sustainable energy is unique, as HP is not only focusing on reducing the amount of energy used in the production and manufacturing of their products, but also having reduced the GHG emissions in the supply chain as well as the product usage side. HP expects to reduce the emission in its faculties to a level that is 20 percent below the 2005 levels (see appendix), by the end of 2013.

The products have already become so energy efficient that within this year their product variety will save the consumer 1 billion kWh, which means a reduction of 40 percent compared to 2005 levels of energy use. One example of the company's efforts to lead the way to sustainability would be that HP has implemented a default setting on all the printers to automatically print any document recto-verso, which results in a saving of 800,000 tons of paper annually.

Figure : Energy Use, 2005 - 2009 (million kWh) [26] 

Instead of finding unlimited natural resources to continue to meet the ever increasing demand of energy in the future and keeping in mind that the era of peak oil is our near future, HP focuses on efficient energy usage and sustainability. And that is what makes the company's approach so unique and innovative. [27] 

HP's Financial Performance 2010

HP records a good 2010

According to the latest financial results, HP proved once again that it is able to execute given its market strengths and technology leadership as it performed very well in 2010. The company's revenue for its 2010 fiscal year hit $ 126 billion, up 10 percent compared with 2009 or up 8 percent when the effects of the currency are being taken into consideration. HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers (ESS) group reported significant growth in its total revenue of $ 5.3 billion in the fourth quarter, up 25%.

Figure : Financial Performance 2009 - 2010 [28] 

OUTLOOK for 2011

The company is forecasting revenue in the region of $ 132 to $ 133.5 billion in 2011. Furthermore the revenue plan for the recently acquired networking provider 3com is already ahead of schedule. According to Leo Apotheker, CEO, HP's market opportunity is vast and will extend its leadership into the future. The company employs talented people who are focused on delivering value for their customers, which points out some kind of competitive advantage for the multinational [29] .

Future Challenges

Firms doing business abroad often face extra challenges, mainly because of constantly changing environments. The changing environments can be divided in into three main aspects:

Cultural Environment

Economic Environment

Political and Legal Environment

Every single one of those changing environments can have a huge impact on multinational corporations and cause them problems.

Cultural Environment

Edward B. Taylor has pointed out that "culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, laws, customs and any other habits acquired by man as a member of society ". According to his definition, it is easy to understand that every nation has different cultural preferences, national tastes and values. These factors have an impact on every part of management in multinational companies. [30] 

Culture is the learned way of doing things in a particular society. It is the way, for example in which its members eat, dress, treat one another and solve their everyday problems. [31] 

The cultural environment is a common challenge a multinational corporation has to deal with all the time. People from different countries will always have different traditions and attitudes towards business. Some companies get ahead of themselves and decide to expand their organization globally but unsuccessful because they fail to realize that they have to change their organization and adapt it to the new country. A multinational corporation like Hewlett-Packard needs to understand the host market. In order to have a better understanding of the host market the company needs to employ locals, because if cultural diversity is not properly managed it can cause problems, misunderstandings and therewith conflicts will arise.

Economic Environment

The role of the international economic environment is increasing day by day. If any business corporation is involved in foreign trade it is not only influences by its own country's economic environment, but also by the economic environment of the country from/to which it is importing or exporting goods. The economic environment consists of factors that affect consumer purchasing power and spending patterns. Economic factors include business cycles, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and income. Changes in major economic variables have a significant impact on the marketplace. For example, income affects consumer spending which affects sales for organizations. According to Engel's Laws, as income rises, the percentage of income spent on food decreases, while the percentage spent on housing remains constant. [32] 

Political and Legal Environment

The international legal framework is somewhat confusing. Most controls or regulations include limitations on trade through tariffs or quotas; documentation and import regulations; various investment, tax, and employment laws; patent and trademark protection; and preferential treaties. A multinational company is bound by international, local and host nation law. Modern organizations are immersed in a sea of law and they are expected to maintain lawfulness all the time.

Hewlett-Packard is the world's largest IT-company and serves more than one billion customers in more than 170 countries on six continents. The company should be aware of the principal of techniques and methods of political risk analysis in order to make decisions regarding market scanning and to inform entry strategy decisions, market planning and use of countervailing measures. Political vulnerability should be assessed by using a systematic checklist. Such a checklist should include the following:

The firm's own country's relations with other countries

Sensitivity of the product or industry

Size and location of operation - the bigger the more vulnerable

Visibility of firm - is it high profile say via advertising?

Host country's political situation

Company behavior - is it a good corporate citizen?

Contribution to host country, for example, employment

Localization of operations

Subsidiary dependence.

It's very important for an international company, like Hewlett-Packard to understand how the international and bilateral agreements have an impact on the operations of the company. Finally it is also important to build up knowledge on this and to be up-to-date with the current developments in the political and legal environments.


Multinational corporations play a very important role in today's economy. As a consequence of infiltrate physical and financial capital to countries with capital shortages, wealth is created, which creates new jobs. In addition new tax revenues arise from the income generated by multinational organizations. This allows developing countries to improve their infrastructure and to strengthen their capital. By improving their efficiency of capital flows multinationals could reduce poverty levels. All in all multinational corporations like HP bring lots of benefits to the international economy.

But there is also another side to the story, there is no company without problems it is facing. Whether an organization is big or small, there will certainly be some sort of problems or negative factor/influence militating against its survival or continuity. As this paper points out, the biggest challenges a multinational corporation will always have to deal with are the constantly changing environments. There will always be cultural differences within the different nations and an international company has to be well aware of it. Furthermore the economic environment will always change as the market and therewith the competition in the global market will keep on growing. A multinational corporation has to identify it' biggest competitor and deal with them early enough in order to stay competitive. Finally the political and legal environment will remain a big challenge for every kind of company.

Weirich and Koontz (1994) stated that the operations of multinational companies need to be weighed against their environmental challenges.

Hewlett-Packard's business started a long time ago in a one-car garage in Palo Alto by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and is now one of the world's largest information technology companies, operating in nearly every country. HP specializes in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Wherever you go and ask, everybody knows Hewlett-Packard and the products/services the company is offering.

The company's market opportunity is vast and will extend its leadership into the future. HP employs talented people who are focused on delivering value for their customers, which points out the competitive advantage for the multinational.



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