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Whitman: New Slimmed-Down HPE Is A Winning Hand Versus Dell, Cisco

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman Wednesday told Wall Street analysts that the new slimmed-down $28 billion enterprise-focused HPE has a decided advantage in the next-generation infrastructure battle against Dell and Cisco.

Whitman said Dell lacks HPE's innovation engine and networking muscle, while Cisco lacks the critical storage assets necessary to win in a hyper-converged infrastructure market. "I think we are in a great position to compete with both Cisco and Dell," said Whitman.

[Related: Partners Cheer HPE Deal To Spin Off 'Non-Core' Software Assets In $8.8B Micro Focus Merger Deal]

The  new HPE -- minus the spin-off mergers of its non-core software business with Micro Focus and its Enterprise Services merger with CSC – is roughly the size of Dell's enterprise business, but is "more focused with better innovation," said Whitman.

Whitman's comments came on the same day that Dell completed the $58 billion acquisition of storage market leader EMC in the largest acquisition in IT history, creating a $70 billion behemoth with products that go from the desktop to the data center. 

"We are getting smaller, while Dell is getting bigger, and this is important because I believe speed and agility is important in innovation and go-to-market," said Whitman. "They are levering up and we are de-levering. We have $5.3 billion of net cash on the operating company and we are going to have a lot more by the time we are done with these [spin-off merger] transactions."

HPE is ready to use that cash to do complementary acquisitions that will fuel further innovation for HPE, said Whitman, who has painted a dark picture of the $60 billion debt burden Dell is taking on to complete the EMC acquisition.

"What [Dell] is doing is doubling down on old technology in a cost take-out play," she said. "That might be quite successful for the leadership team from a financial perspective. I am not so sure it is good for customers."

Cisco, meanwhile, is missing the storage assets needed to win in the current hyper-converged market where storage, compute and networking assets are critical to success, said Whitman.

One sign of HPE's success against Cisco is 20 percent growth in the Aruba wireless networking business above the HPE internal plan in the most recent quarter. "Aruba at the edge is killing it -- a 20 percent growth rate above our internal plan," said Whitman. "We are just winning deals hand over fist there. We feel really good about our ability to compete against Cisco."

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of Orange, Calif.-based CB Technologies, an HPE enterprise software partner, said HPE has a flat out better infrastructure portfolio than both Dell and Cisco. "Meg has created the strongest infrastructure company in the world that is also quick and nimble and easier to partner with," she said.

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