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HP CEO on 3-day visit

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(HP) chief executive yesterday told employees at its Bangalore office to watch out for “new products from the US on February 9”.

Apotheker, to also visit Mumbai and Delhi, is the first from HP’s senior management to visit the country in 10 years. An HP official said, “The CEO is in India as part of a listening tour, where he interacts with employees and hears them out on various issues.”

Apotheker joined HP as CEO in September, 2010, three months after his predecessor, Mark Hurd, resigned.

During his interaction with employees, Apotheker asked, “Those who think Apple is cool, raise your hands.” When a majority of the 4,500 employees at the Bangalore office raised their hands, the CEO responded by saying, “Get ready to get rid of your iPhones and iPads (both best-selling products from Apple).” Adding, “There would be real, near-term introductions, as the hardware is ready.”

The company is clearly backing away from the mistakes of premature announcements that it made with devices like the Slate 500, unveiled in early January 2010 but not made available till October, losing consumer attention as the iPad came along. Executives in India remained tight-lipped about HP’s upcoming event on February 9 in San Francisco, where it is expected to unveil its webOS platform and related tablet PCs.

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