If anyone assumed that HP and Meg Whitman would stand by idly as IBM (NYSE: IBM) sold its x86 server business to Lenovo, Whitman on Thursday proved such thoughts to be asinine. 

She sees instability.

She sees opportunity.

“So we are all over it,” Whitman told financial analysts in a conference call Thursday afternoon.

HP (NYSE: HPQ) beat the Street with its earnings report on Thursday. And Whitman took the opportunity to warn her competitors that the server battles – always intent anyway – are going to intensify.

Yes, HP has lost the world’s No. 1 PC mantle to Lenovo and faces the potential of increased competition if and when its x86 server deal wins government approval in the coming months. But Whitman, 2 1/2-years into her turnaround role at HP, is on the attack as HP regains its footing.

“This is a big ship to turn around and we need to move faster,” Whitman told Bloomberg news in an interview.

“The restructuring program is very much on track and customers and partners have a lot more confidence in HP than they did two and a half years ago,” she added.

Targeting IBM-Lenovo “Instability”

So Whitman is going to use that confidence to speed up her efforts – and servers is a point of emphasis.

Shannon Cross of Cross Research asked Whitman about the Lenovo-IBM deal, which is valued at some $2.3  billion.

“[I]f you can just talk a little bit about the server business? In specific, I am curious is what you are seeing in terms of the IBM sale? Any opportunity to gain share there and how you are looking at targeting some of that business?,” Cross asked, based on a transcript of the call provided by website Seeking Alpha.

Whitman didn’t muff the opportunity.

“Yes,” she responded. “So as everyone on the call knows, Lenovo announced they are buying IBM’S x86 server business from top to bottom and good news is that those create an opportunity for us because what I have learned about this business is instability and questions about the future make it very difficult because people want to bet on a roadmap and they are worried that as a change of ownership occurs, is the roadmap the same, is the investments the same, is the market to be the same, is the service going to be the same?

“So I think we had a near-term opportunity here to gain share in our enterprise services or in our server business.

“So we are all over it.”

(ChannelResellerNews used the same quote but added an exclamation point to the “all over it” remark.

Is she excited or what?

But Whitman also made sure to warn Lenovo that once the IBM deal closes it had best be prepared for a fight.

“We will over with our channel partners and I think there’s a good near-term opportunity,” she said.

“In a long-term obviously, Lenovo is going to be a powerful competitor and we aim to be well set up by the time the deal is done to compete really aggressively.”

Wow. The fight is on. This should be interesting to watch.

[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]

[IBM ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of IBM stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]