Meg Whitman, 55, a former eBay CEO and the president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard since September 2011, has no doubt in her mind that Apple stands a chance of zooming past Hewlett-Packard, the world’s leading computer vendor, some time during next year.

Whitman’s appraisal of Apple assumes, of course, that one considers tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, personal computers.

Commenting on a recent Canalys survey that first predicted Apple’s likely takeover of Hewlett-Packard with a little help from the yet unreleased iPad 3, Whitman told French newspaper Le Figaro (machine translated):

Yes. I think it’s possible if you integrate tablets. Apple does a great job. We need to improve our game and our products to take over the leadership position. Apple could go past HP in 2012. We will try to become the champion in 2013. It takes time for the products on which I have come to influence the market.

Hewlett-Packard is the world’s leading computer vendor, operating in nearly every country. More interesting than that, Whitman said her company will reach a decision soon on the fate of the webOS mobile operating system, which has remained in turmoil after HP indicated it might sell of that asset. She reassured Hewlett-Packard fans that her company is open to all options and nodded at Android as one of the choices being considered.

According to TechCrunch, she said:

Interestingly enough, during the same interview, Whitman talked a bit about the future of webOS. She stated that a decision would be made in the next two weeks as there are currently 600 employees in ‘limbo’. The only hint about its future is that Whitman stated that HP needs two OSes but Android could replace webOS.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

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