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Business Management

HP's New Computing Model: This Time Lucky?

Take everything that you know about a traditional computer model. Now discard it. At least, this is what HP wants to do in the computing industry with its new kind of computer known simply as: The Machine. Sounds like something out of The Matrix but this is HP’s brainchild and the company has high ambitions, in HP’s own words to: “reinvent the fundamental architecture of computers.”

So how exactly does HP plan to challenge the immovable 60 year computing model? Firstly, the new computer will be more energy efficient and powerful. It will process more data but use less power. Secondly, as reported by MIT, it will have a new kind of computer memory rather than the two types that computers use today. At the moment, users have to frustratingly move data back and forth but this should save both time and power. The prototype should be available in 2016.

HP has been pushing boundaries in IT for years, being responsible for many of the innovations we have today. So it’s good that the company is looking to shake the industry up and not play safe, which is something HP could have done after experiencing a range of big changes in the company. HP is planning to axe as many as 16,000 employees and its revenues haven’t been great having fallen for the 11th straight quarter, down 1% from the previous year to $27.3bn.

But in order to make The Machine a reality, HP has many challenges ahead and a long road to go. A top executive from Dell has openly scoffed at HP’s ambitions calling it “laughable” and saying it would make trillions of dollars in software investment obsolete.  Sounds pretty harsh, especially as HP has shown it can innovate, something Dell might not be able to say.

But the Dell exec does raise a point. Numerous attempts have been made by tech giants in the past to reinvent the PC industry - and they all failed. In the late 1980s, IBM unveiled its ambitions to reinvent computing with a next-generation operating system called OS/2. Like HP, the OS/2 was also supposed to change the way we use computers. But it never happened.

In the early 1990s, a group of 21 companies, known as The Advanced Computing Environment (ACE) formed an alliance to create powerful desktop computers. The ACE included Microsoft, and Intel was scared. Around the same time, Apple, IBM, and Motorola also joined forces as the AIM alliance to keep Microsoft at Bay. Due to conflicting interests and the size of the companies involved, ACE fell apart. But the point remains: IBM and ACE both had high ambitions that were unsuccessful.

History may be telling but there is always hope. At the moment, energy efficiency is a huge deal for businesses and HP’s server Moonshot uses 89% less energy and requires 80% less space. It is hard to say how partners will respond to the new model: will it be embraced or shunned? Or will the other tech giants smell blood and go in for the kill by building it first? It might be too early to tell, but after a turbulent year at least HP is trying to get back to its innovative roots – and that’s something.

 

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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