Cisco's chief executive John Chambers has moved to seed doubt in the minds of businesses considering HP's products and services over its own offerings by playing up the troubles faced by its rival.
Speaking to Reuters, Chambers questioned whether new chief executive Meg Whitman would be able to turn the firm around, after such a long period of instability and decline.
"There's not been a company ever turned around by the fifth chief executive on the job," he said.
"It's a tough hand to play, but clearly as a competitor I like competing against that hand, and we are going to try and accelerate while they are struggling."
Whitman has made some bold moves since taking over at HP, including firing almost 29,000 employees and turning its webOS division to the open source world. The firm has also lost Mike Lynch, the renowned founder of Autonomy, which was acquired a year ago.
However, this hasn't stopped some fairly hefty financial losses being posted, including an $8.9bn for the third quarter of 2012.
Responding to questions as to why Whitman would want to take on such a tough job at HP, Chambers said she was likely drawn by the history of the firm.
"She did it, I believe, because she cares about the Valley so much and HP is an integral part of the Valley," he added.
The comments from Chambers comes as the firm aims to reposition itself in the market after a rocky few years, which including job cuts of its own and the closure of its Flip video unit to convince investors of its commitment to enterprise markets.
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