New HP CEO: SAP's Leo Apotheker

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 09-30-2010

Apotheker is HP's New CEO + More Hot Topics

If you've been wondering about the fate of tech giant HP, which has been without a CEO since Mark Hurd was ousted in August, your wait is over. On Sept. 30, HP announced that former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker would take the helm as president/CEO. The executive shuffle going on at major technology vendors -- and how these will reshape the tech landscape -- could become more important to you in the months ahead. Many CIOs are starting to find themselves in a much different position than they were just a year ago. At this time in 2009, you were likely being pressured by your CEO to cut budgets, or at least keep them flat, while reducing your investment in new technology solutions, and keeping new hires to an absolute minimum. Times seem to be changing, albeit glacially.

And, after such a long wait, you're probably eager to start thinking about new products and evaluating how you're going to run your operation going forward.That's precisely why you'll want to take a look the five biggest stories from the past week. Along with a major tablet announcement from RIM, the week was dominated by tales of Verizon potentially not getting the iPhone after all, as well as reports that hiring freezes across the industry are starting to unthaw.

New HP CEO: SAP's Leo Apotheker

Ever since Mark Hurd was ousted from his role as CEO of HP, quite a few stakeholders have been wondering where the company plans to go next. The first piece of the puzzle fell into place on Sept. 30, when HP named Leo Apotheker as its new CEO. His appointment, which includes a seat on the company's board of directors, is effective Nov. 1, 2010. In choosing Apotheker, HP bypassed several highly placed insiders.

The CIO Insight

An SAP veteran, Apotheker lasted less than two years as the company's CEO. He  resigned from SAP under pressure on Feb. 7, 2010, when the company failed to deliver on its cloud and mobile market strategy, losing key marketshare to Oracle.

Apotheker's resignation came as SAP was locked in a fierce global market share battle with Oracle over the enterprise business applications that both companies develop and sell. These applications include accounting, financial management, general ledger, human resources and others that are the operational bedrock of all large enterprises. His resignation also came a little more than a week after SAP announced a 12 percent decrease in operating income for the full year 2009. In May 2010, only a few months after Apotheker left SAP, the company decided to acquire Sybase to help fill out those market needs.

In true tech-industry irony, Hurd was named co-president of Oracle on Sept. 6, one month after leaving HP in a forced resignation following charges of sexual harassment by a former HP employee. Hurd has since settled the complaint out of court.

For analyst reaction to the news, read the eWeek article HP Selects Former SAP Chief as its New President, CEO.

RIM PlayBook Tablet Revealed

RIM announced the PlayBook tablet earlier this week. The device boasts a 7-inch display, runs the company's new tablet operating system, and offers Wi-Fi connectivity. It also includes access to BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It's scheduled to go on sale early next year; pricing was not yet announced.

The CIO Insight

For now, despite its enterprise aspirations, PlayBook is not going to meet all your needs. A big obstacle is the fact that the device lacks 3G wireless connectivity out-of-the-box. Even though a BlackBerry smartphone can be used to connect PlayBook to 3G networks, its lack of integrated connectivity could be a major problem for many enterprises. And, considering RIM is spending so much time marketing the device as an equally useful consumer and corporate product, it will be going head-to-head with other enterprise-focused tablets due out early next year, such as the Cisco Cius and contenders from Dell.

No Verizon iPhone?

Reports are swirling that Apple might not be bringing the iPhone to Verizon's wireless service. Although a Verizon iPhone has been rumored for months, the carrier recently said that the two companies are having trouble coming to an agreement. If that continues, it's possible that Apple might look elsewhere for a U.S. carrier.

The CIO Insight

This is not good news for the potential of iPhone in the enterprise. No single carrier provides the ubiquitous national coverage needed for a major North American enterprise to run mission-critical apps, and AT&T's iPhone service has come under particular fire from some critics. If your organization has been waiting for Verizon to come on board before making a final decision about iPhone, you may be disappointed. Hello, BlackBerry, can you hear me now?

Dell Tablet Due Soon

The 5-inch Dell Streak tablet has proven to be a failure for the PC company due to its small screen size and outdated software. But that isn't stopping Dell from offering a 7-inch tablet in the coming weeks, and potentially a 10-inch model within a few months.

The CIO Insight

Keep a close eye on Dell's new tablet plans. The company had some missteps out of the gate, but it has proven in the PC business that it knows how to attract corporate customers. If it can offer that same level of service with its new tablets, you might have a fine iPad alternative to choose from.

IT Hiring Thaws?

A new study from The Conference Board has found that demand for IT workers is quite high in September. In fact, total job vacancies across all industries have increased by one million positions, The Conference Board found. The technology industry added 15,200 new job vacancies during September, representing the highest demand for IT workers since 2008.

The CIO Insight

Chances are, your company will be part of this new hiring demand. If not, now is the time to make the business case for adding new workers, before your competition snags the top IT talent in your industry. You don't want to hinder your company's ability to grow as the economy starts to recover from the Great Recession.