HP just can't avoid drama. It changes management as often as Chelsea football club, has botched numerous acquisitions such as EDS and Palm, and is embroiled in a legal battle with former Autonomy management after the $10bn acquisition in 2011.
This is a far cry from its heyday at the top of the consumer and business markets with its PC and printer hardware selling like hotcakes and its rich history founded on a research and development ethos instilled by founders Bill Hewlett and David Packard.
Those leading HP now, under the stewardship of ex-eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, know they face a tough challenge to ensure the firm's legacy remains. One of those tasked with this job is HP chief operating officer Bill Veghte (pictured left).
A Microsoft veteran who helped oversee the launch of Windows 7 before moving to HP as executive vice president of software, Veghte was promoted to his current role in May 2012 and is a core part of the team trying to guide HP out of the mire.
Veghte told V3 he is under no illusions HP is facing a "transformation" and ensuring customers around the world understand the firm's strategy centred on three key tenets of software, services and hardware.
"HP is the only technology company on the planet that has critical mass across hardware, software and services," Veghte claimed. "We're also the only large technology firm with a brand that translates across both consumer and enterprise markets."
Veghte highlighted the serious transition HP's hardware division is going through as proof of his claim.
Widespread reports show sales of PCs, HP's traditional bread and butter, have slumped in the face of demand for tablets and smartphones.
Despite this, HP has committed to the market, in a u-turn from the shock announcement by short-lived former chief executive Leo Apotheker in 2011, and it has brought out many new devices in the past few months.
However, things are changing here too. This began at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where the firm unveiled a 7in tablet device, the Slate 7, running on Google's Android operating system.
For a firm that has always traditionally been the staunchest of allies for Microsoft's Windows operating systems this is a notable move. What is more, Veghte confirmed the firm fully intends to continue with this multi-platform approach.
"We are not Microsoft, we're not Google and we're not Samsung. The opportunity to provide and curate the right devices at the right price points is one of the reasons I'm so excited about the Slate 7 and the Android tablets we're rolling out," he said.
"We're very committed to making Windows 8 successful but we are also committed to broadening our multiple platform approach."
Veghte's comments follow a series of dynamic shifts in by HP. Earlier in October HP partnered with Google to create its latest Chromebook 11 laptop, marking the latest stage in its ongoing experimentation with alternative ecosystems.
A secure future
Veghte highlighted the security market as another key tenet in HP's growth plans. The firm boasts numerous high-profile customers, such as divisions within all four branches of the US military, including the US Navy.
At last year's Discover event V3 broke the news that HP is helping the navy fend off 110,000 cyber attacks every hour on its internal IT systems.
The firm's ArcSight tool is particularly popular, while Veghte also revealed that the firm's code-scanning security service Fortify on Demand has now inspected over 10 billion lines of code.
HP could well see demand for its security services grow as the threats on the market continue to evolve. This is something Veghte has seen first-hand in his time in the industry.
"I managed the Windows server business during the first wave of Code Red attacks at the turn of century. If you look at the evolution of this you have gone from a teenager in Montana who wanted to be famous to a hacker that wants £10,000 to incredibly smart, sophisticated people with lots of time and economics behind them," he said.
"They are motivated around espionage, terrorism, nationalistic intent and that is the world we're going to live in forever now, and it is going to get worse, not better."
This is creating serious issues for both the public and private sectors.
"Governments are waking up to the reality of this and now trying to decide if their response is to protect their citizens or take a more offensive stance. For businesses, this is now a board level conversation," Veghte claimed.
"In the last 24 months it has really risen up the agenda. When Anonymous was rumoured to be attacking the Bank of America its share price dropped by over five percent."
The work HP does in the security field with such large corporate clients is a reminder that while its traditional heritage of PC devices may be facing a rocky future, there are plenty of other areas where the firm can grow.
For a company that started life in a garage in Palo Alto developing audio oscillators, to providing security and cloud offerings to some of the largest enterprises in the world, HP's legacy in the IT market is there for all to see.
The challenge for Veghte, Whitman and the rest of those leading HP forward is to ensure the upheavals of the recent years are looked back on as nothing more than a minor blip in its history, rather than a drama that became a crisis.
This interview first appeared in the V3 Tablet App. For more exclusive CIO interviews, technology analysis and expert commentary, download the V3 app for free.
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