Fresh off reporting better-than-expected earnings, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman told CNBC on Friday she sees "brightness" in the PC market despite gloomy forecasts in that sector and a move toward cloud computing.
"The market is definitely getting better," Whitman said on "Squawk on the Street." "Business is understanding and employees are understanding that they may want a tablet, but they also need more traditional compute devices to get their work done that is going to be required in this world of big data and analytics."
After the bell Thursday, HP posted strong first-quarter growth in its enterprise group, which focuses on servers and other hardware. Despite slightly decreasing operating margins, that group had its second-consecutive quarter of growth after two years of revenue declines.
Whitman told CNBC that her company can't be wary of favoring growth areas at the expense of legacy products. She cited strong growth in India and Europe's developed markets as bright spots, while other regions remains flat or hard to predict. Responding to concerns over whether a company that once dominated the PC market could adapt to the next wave of computing, Whitman said HP's "innovation engine" was alive and well.
"We have to be willing to cannibalize ourselves, because if we don't do it to ourselves, someone else will," Whitman said. "We'll play in consumer, but commercial is where we have a right to win."
The positive quarter suggests that HP's gamble on hardware, part of a years-long turnaround plan from a shrinking PC market to a mobile and cloud-based environment may be paying off. HP's revenue fell by about 1 percent to $28.2 billion, with income growing 16 percent to $1.4 billion—both numbers beating Wall Street estimates.
The turnaround plan also called for massive workforce reductions at the computer hardware manufacturer, which in December adjusted its layoff projections to 34,000 workers through 2014.