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January 21, 1988

STORMING YEAR FOR HEWLETT IN UK – BUT GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO MORE FOR RESEARCH

By CBR Staff Writer

In his annual UK state-of the company message, Hewlett-Packard Ltd’s managing director David Baldwin yesterday declared that 1987 had been the company’s its best year since it started operations in the UK back in 1961 – and returned to the recurrent Hewlett theme of the national environment for high tech in the UK. This time, he expressed concern over the government’s attitude towards research and development and education, saying that the White Paper published by the Deaprtment of Trade and Industry does not address these issues sufficiently to make the UK a true enterprise society. Baldwin believes that the government making a mistake in reducing its support for research and development and making it a responsibility of industry, when most other countries invest large sums of government cash in research. Instead of contributing half of the ?1,000m combined private and public sector research initiative, recommended by the Bide report, it will only give ?29m over the next three years. Another area of concern is the lack of resources given to non competitive research efforts such as those carried out within universities, which, Baldwin believes, are vital for a vigorous information technology industry. Baldwin concedes that information technology will mean fewer jobs but points out that the country will need more educated and versatile people to work in the industry and fears that the current rate of suitable people coming out of further education will not be enough. Only around 20% of students go into higher education in the UK, 85% in Germany and 95% in Japan, says Baldwin.. Turning to his own business, Baldwin reported that Hewlett-Packard UK achieved record turnover, export and profit figures for the fiscal year to October 31 1987. Turnover for the period rose 21% to ?428m; exports were up 20% to ?137m and pre-tax profits soared 146% to ?31.8m. The company points out that not just in the UK but worldwide 1987 was a watershed year. In the previous couple of years it spent a lot of money developing its Precision Architecture which paid off and to its surprise, despite the launching delay, gained a favourable, loyal response from its customer base. Hewlett-Packard says that in 1988 it will be positioning itself alongside DEC as the natural competitor to IBM. Hewlett believes that it has a major challenger to the VAX market with its HP9000 Series 840 model and during 1987 it challenged VAX users to run their applications on the system: it got 140 responses and claims that all its own environments beat the equivalent VAX by at least 50%. During 1987 the UK company won its first Queen’s Award for export achievement and this week won the RITA Award for Peripheral Product of the year with its LaserJet Series II printer.

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