HP Global Partner Conference, Las Vegas – The trials and tribulations that have struck Dell since the announcement by its founder Michael Dell that it intends privatising should be viewed as an opportunity for HP and its partners – and they should take full advantage while they can.

This was the blunt message from HP CEO Meg Whitman in response to a question on whether Dell’s recent moves towards privatisation should be viewed as a threat or an opportunity.

Yesterday, Dell released its latest results and the fallout from its founder’s $24-billion buyout bid with partners Silver Lake has seen the company’s quarterly revenue dip by 11% and its profit plunge by 31%.

“This is an opportunity for us collectively,” Whitman told about 3 000 partners at HP’s annual partner gathering. “Instability in our business is not a good thing because you – as partners – and customers have to make long-term bets on issues such as services and support.

“When you have instability – and we experienced some of this ourselves over the past year – it creates a hesitation to buy,” Whitman says. “When a company like Dell goes private it creates instability. We’re coming out of our instability and will concentrate our efforts in areas where we have dominant market share. And in the PC business we are the market leader. We will make sure that we take advantage [of the situation] and stay focused on innovation and our support and services operations.

“Personally, I view Dell’s predicament as a great opportunity for both HP and its partners,” she says.