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HP expands in Israel

November 24, 2009. Globes: Shmulik Shelah

Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) is about to expand its Israeli R&D center. The company, which has about 800 employees at HP-Mercury Interactive in Yehud, is launching a new team for enterprise infrastructure management to develop products. The immediate effect of the decision will be the hiring of 100 employees over the next two years.

Four months ago, "Globes" interviewed HP VP Ronen Armon, who is responsible for BTO, HP's largest business segment accounting for 65% of sales. He made the company's ambitions for the Israeli R&D center clear, saying, "I expect that we'll see growth. And if I were to bet on investment, Yehud would be a safe bet for the development center as far as I'm concerned."

The enterprise infrastructure management project is one of the prominent projects that will achieve the growth that Armon spoke about. HP hopes to develop products that will be integrated in enterprise software environments.

HP VP SaaS strategy Israel David says that the company plans to create a virtual community in enterprise infrastructure management, which will include blogs, forums, and other social media. The goal is to create easy access to information in the field.

HP is targeting the enterprise infrastructure management products to small and mid-sized businesses, a business segment that rarely buys HP infrastructure management products. David said, "Our vision is to create a system that will excite and encourage the creation of relationships, information sharing, and help." He declined to disclose any more details.

HP's Israeli R&D center is based on its acquisition of Mercury Interactive in 2006 for $4.5 billion. Until now, HP's expansion in Israel has been through acquisitions. The company currently has about 5,000 employees in Israel, including 1,800 at HP Indigo's two digital press plants in Kirayt Gat, and plant and R&D center in Ness Ziona.

There are 850 employees working at the wide format press plants acquired from Scitex Digital Printing and Nur Macroprinters; 900 employees at the HP's sales and service center in Ra'anana; and 850 employees who joined the company as a result of the acquisition of EDS.

During a visit to Israel in June, HP chairman, president and CEO Mark Hurd said, "There is no reason that we shouldn’t expand here in the future." He noted the company's expanded presence in Israel, saying, "We need people who will invest the next Blade systems, the next touch screen, or the next printer. We need smart people. We want the smartest people in the world to work for HP, and we'll go where we'll find them."

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