TR: Until the 90s, the company had rolled along at something like 19 percent growth per year. More recently, growth has been sluggish at best. In what areas will you push for new growth opportunities?
FIORINA: HP can grow faster as well as earn more; I’m convinced of it. We are now poised to capitalize on some real innovations with huge market potential. Digital imaging is one, e-services is another; at the same time, we have to aggressively continue to defend and grow our core businesses. We will do all of this passionately. And we are growing again. We have become the world’s number one consumer IT supplier, and we’ve just begun. We see great growth opportunities outside the U.S. HP has been a global firm for a very long time. We’ve been in Asia for thirty years; we’ve been in Europe that long. We’ve been in places in Latin America that long. So for us it’s not about building a presence-we have it. We have deep roots in countries where longevity matters. Now it’s a question of leveraging off the relationships and the presence that we have.
TR: Your new logo includes the word “invent.” This is reminiscent of the Lucent motto’s reference to “Bell Labs Innovations.” Does this mean a bigger role for HP Labs (the company’s central research house)?
FIORINA: HP Labs has always played a critical role in the company. In fact, the innovation that’s come out of that organization has been one of the best-kept secrets in the industry. We’re changing that by letting the world know what a tremendous asset we have in the Labs. We’re also going to put more of a focus on developing “disruptive technologies”-those that create entirely new markets. We had gotten to the point where HP Labs was really totally funded by the businesses-and that caused a focusing of the Labs’ attention on pretty near-end opportunities. Now, that connection between the Labs and the business is important and we don’t want to sever that connection. But at the same time we also want to give the Labs the resources and the freedom to focus on farther-out technologies-and also to feel free enough from the day-to-day budget battles that they can be a voice of contention where one is necessary. And so what we’ve done now is say there will be a portion of HP Labs’ funding which will be top-down, which will be based upon both further-out technologies and perhaps alternative approaches to a problem.
But you also need to remember, HP was founded by two inventors 60 years ago. We are a company of inventors, so the word “invent” is for every HP employee, not just those at Labs. We can, and do, invent different ways of working and new business models, in addition to new technology.
TR: Can you provide some examples of “disruptive technologies” that you’re working on?
FIORINA: Digital photography is one area. We have some of the world’s best color scientists who have written algorithms for a chip that will go into a digital camera that will virtually guarantee you a perfectly exposed picture every time. Vivid, natural colors, sharp focus and no more images lost in the shadows or bright lights. Our technology is going to revolutionize the world of consumer photography. We’re also doing some ground-breaking work in advanced storage technologies. One, called ARS, or Atomic Resolution Storage, holds the promise of storage densities a thousand times greater than those that exist today. You could carry enough storage in your pocket to record everything you’ve ever seen, done or heard in your entire lifetime. That kind of capacity just changes the ground-rules for what you can do with storage technology.