Stephen DiFranco to Lead HP’s Personal Systems Group Americas Business

HP today announced that it has appointed Stephen DiFranco to serve as senior vice president and general manager for the Americas region of its Personal Systems Group (PSG), reporting to Todd Bradley, executive vice president of PSG.

DiFranco will replace Stephen DeWitt, who has been named senior vice president and general manager of the webOS global business unit. HP will begin an active search to identify a new leader of its Solutions Partner Organization (SPO), with that business continuing to report into PSG Americas. DiFranco will continue to oversee SPO until that role is filled.

“Stephen DiFranco has shown the leadership and operational discipline that exemplifies our executive bench,” said Todd Bradley. “His experience driving profitable growth with our channel partners will be essential to leading PSG’s business across the Americas region.”

In his new role, DiFranco will be responsible for driving the marketing, sales and operations strategy for the continued growth of PSG in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Stephen will be responsible for the financial performance of both the commercial and consumer business. PSG’s portfolio includes PCs, mobile products, client virtualization and connected entertainment solutions, internet services and support for consumers, small to midsize business and enterprise customers.

In his former role as general manager of SPO – Americas, DiFranco successfully oversaw alignment and collaboration across HP’s partner network, driving continued growth for HP partners throughout the region.  He bolstered HP’s channel efficiency by aligning the channel to major industry-specific cycles to better meet the needs of partners. He also successfully evolved the economics of HP’s channel business by enabling partners to better measure the return on investment of their HP relationships.

DiFranco joined HP from Lenovo last year, where he served as vice president of consumer and commercial channels, managing the company’s channel business in the United States and Canada. Prior to Lenovo, DiFranco held senior marketing positions at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Maxtor Corporation.


3G Tablet Sales ‘Very Slow,’ Analyst Says

Customers can’t afford another data plan, prefer Wi-Fi tablets instead

According to Computer World’s Matt Hamblen, sales of 3G cellular-equipped tablets have largely been a bust because consumers don’t want to pay wireless carriers for another data plan on top of their data plans for smartphones, an IDG analyst said on Friday.

“The 3G thing on tablets is bogus,” Bob O’Donnell, an IDG analyst, told Computerworld. “Nobody wants to pay for that data.”

He said “hundreds of thousands” of 3G-ready tablets are sitting unsold in inventory at carrier stores and other retailers in the U.S. because tablet customers far prefer buying a tablet to work over Wi-Fi instead of 3G cellular.

“Sales of 3G tablets have been very slow,” O’Donnell said, basing his insight on interviews with several large tablet makers, including Motorola and Samsung.

“Tablets are a different animal than smartphones and are much more like a typical computer where you tend to sit in one place using Wi-Fi to work,” O’Donnell said.

Because 3G tablets haven’t sold well, U.S. carriers will need to change their pricing plans for data, combining data plans to cover a family of devices instead of just a single device for a data plan, O’Donnell said. He predicted carriers will do just that, sometime in the fall.

In May, a Verizon Wireless executive said the carrier was considering offering a shared data plan for families where data from more than one smartphone or tablet would be combined.

Verizon hasn’t announced anything further on data sharing across families or work groups, although it did stop offering unlimited data plans for new smartphone users on Thursday. It set up three new data pricing tiers, starting at $30 for 2GB per month.

O’Donnell said the carriers would never suggest that a home- or office-based broadband user have a separate DSL line for every desktop computers, which would be far too expensive. At $30 for 2GB per smartphone, a family of four could easily exceed $100 a month for data charges and adding a tablet on cellular would be something they would try to avoid.

“People want the equivalent of a mobile router, with one data plan to use across several devices,” O’Donnell said. “It has to be a reasonable price point. Why should the carriers care where I use my bits?”

IDC reported on Friday that vendors such as Samsung and Motorola, who sell mobile phones as well as tablets, have tended to focus their tablet distribution through the carriers but only found “moderate” success with tablets.

Those tablet sales were “largely stymied by many consumers’ unwillingness to sign up for the 3G/4G data plans that the carriers typical require along with those devices,” IDC said in a statement.

For the remainder of 2011, IDC added: “We believe [tablet] vendors who continue to focus on the telco channel for distribution will face serious challenges.”

HP to Drive Innovation, Scale and Growth of webOS

Stephen DeWitt to lead HP’s webOS global business unit; Jon Rubinstein named senior vice president of product innovation for PSG

Building on the successful launch of HP webOS 3.0, HP today announced it is accelerating the global expansion of webOS.

To support this next phase of growth, HP has appointed Stephen DeWitt as senior vice president and general manager of its webOS global business unit. Jon Rubinstein, the visionary behind webOS, will assume a product innovation role within the Personal Systems Group (PSG) at HP.

This announcement underscores HP’s strategy to provide a seamless, secure, context-aware experience across HP’s product portfolio, and to deliver innovation at unmatched scale.

“With the successful debut of our first wave of webOS-based products, we are drawing on our deep executive bench to position the right leaders in the right roles to accelerate the long-term growth of webOS,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, and member of the Executive Board, HP. “Stephen DeWitt has a proven
ability to build and scale organizations into global, multibillion dollar operations, and I am confident that he will take webOS to the next level.

At the same time, we continue to leverage the core strengths of Silicon Valley icon Jon Rubinstein to apply his considerable talents across the PSG portfolio.”

DeWitt, who has been leading the PSG Americas region at HP, will be responsible for all aspects of the webOS business, including engineering, research and development, sales, marketing and go-to-market support. In his new role, DeWitt will spearhead the creation of a fully integrated, global developer and independent software vendor program to deliver new consumer and business applications. DeWitt’s team also will create a dedicated mobility practice with HP’s partner community, with the goal of delivering consumer and enterprise solutions globally.

DeWitt has dramatically improved PSG’s profitability and share position in the America’s region since his arrival to HP in 2008. He is succeeded by Stephen DiFranco, head of the Solutions Partners Organization for the Americas region at HP.

“Innovation is at the core of webOS, and I look forward to working with our talented team of engineers as we strive to develop the industry’s most compelling set of products, solutions and services in markets around the world,” said DeWitt. “As part of our investment in the future of webOS, we are working in lock step with the developer community, our channel partners and the start-up community to create an application ecosystem that delivers on HP’s mobile connectivity strategy.”

Jon Rubinstein has been named senior vice president for Product Innovation in the Personal Systems Group at HP. He will continue to report to Todd Bradley in this role, helping to propel innovation across product lines. HP will leverage Rubinstein’s passion for building exceptional consumer products and his long history of driving game changing innovation, such as webOS.

“With the launch of webOS 3.0, our team has delivered a world-class platform for HP to leverage going forward, and it is now time to take things to the next level,” said Rubinstein. “With webOS under Stephen DeWitt’s proven leadership, I’m looking forward to my new role and driving further innovation for webOS and other PSG products.”

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure at the convergence of the cloud and connectivity, creating seamless, secure, context-aware experiences for a connected world. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at

The Little Phone That’s One of the Big Guys!

How many times have you heard the word ‘intuitive’ when a company is talking about its newest product?  How intuitive is it really once you’ve bought it?  There’s usually a learning curve ranging from OK to HUH??!!!

The HP Veer is a product that correctly calls itself ‘intuitive.’   This is one of the simplest full-featured phones I’ve ever tried.

I’m not a phone guru or afficianado. I don’t need to have the newest and greatest as long as what I’m using still does everything I need it to do.  Proof of this is that I just recently gave up my trusty old T-Mobile Dash when it finally gave up.  

The phone I used in the interim before getting the HP Veer was OK, but I never figured out all the bells and whistles.  The phone worked, Outlook worked and that was about it.  I didn’t have time to figure out the rest of it.  I live in one of those areas where cell reception is iffy at best, so I wasn’t that motivated to make everything work. 

While I was at HP Discover, I met a couple of WebOS experts – Rich Dunbar and George Salcedo – both writers for WebOS Roundup.  They introduced me to the HP Veer.  I played with George’s while there and couldn’t believe how easy it was to use, and use to the promises.

One of the first things you’ll see is “Just type.”  It means just that.  If there isn’t an icon on the main screen to what you want, typing in a word or phrase navigates you to the location.

I love that I can open multiple windows, just like on my desktop and navigate around quickly and easily.  In fact, I loved the phone so much that I decided it was time to see what we could do to increase our reception at the house (and we did!).  More on that later, too.

There will be more to come as I use the HP Veer more.  In the meantime, check out all the details for yourself at HP.