In late 2015, HP was reborn as a PC maker following a split of its parent organization, Hewlett-Packard. At the time, HP was a lost cause, and its double-digit decline in PC shipments was a main reason for the split.
The new HP then set out to reclaim its spot as the world's top PC maker from Lenovo, a title it lost in 2013. It reached the goal in the first quarter of 2017, during which its PC shipments grew by 13.1 percent year over year.
To reach the top, HP took on an Apple-like role of being an innovator and focused on profitable products. At the same time, it cut products like its Slate PCs, some low-cost Stream laptops, TouchSmart all-in-ones, Omni PCs, and other devices that were key offerings in the past.
In December 2015, HP also cut low-cost tablets and Android devices, due to fierce competition and a drop in prices. Tablet demand was declining, and low-cost alternatives were available by the dozens.
"We saw the consumer tablet market as the opposite -- low-value being flooded with cheap devices with Shenzhen," said Ron Coughlin, president for personal systems at HP. "We didn't think that would provide the customers or shareholders with the right value."
Armed with market research and engineering expertise, HP then set out to redesign its PCs into smaller and more attractive form factors. Products like 2-in-1s were designed to appeal to buyers like millennials, many of whom don't mind spending the extra buck for a device that looks sophisticated.
"We don't chase share for share's sake. We could have discounted our way to the share gains we had, but that wasn't our plan at all," Coughlin said.
In 2016, HP released products like the super-thin Spectre 13, the modular HP Slice desktop, and the Z2 Mini desktop, which packs the power of a tower PC in a small form factor.
"People wanted a smaller footprint, but they wanted the same power," Coughlin said.
HP also released the Pavilion Wave PC, a modern take on Apple's Mac Pro.
The company also reversed some of its past mistakes. It re-entered the high-end PC gaming market, which it exited when it folded the Voodoo PC unit in 2008. Gaming PCs have been the bright spot in an otherwise slumping PC market, and in August, HP introduced a range of innovative high-end Omen gaming PCs, which had similar color tones to the Voodoo PCs.
The "high-value" Omen PCs are taking market share away from conventional gaming PC
makers, and gaming is a profitable market, Coughlin said.
But it's the volume-selling products like the Pavilion, EliteBook, Spectre, and Envy that sold well and helped HP's market share grow. Many of the laptops are thinner, smaller and sleeker than older HP products, and 2-in-1 products are selling well.