Ronnie05's Blog

HP and the Monkey Act!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 29, 2011

There was this monkey who once wanted to cross the busy road! One day he declared his grand intention to his family and set afoot. Having reached the road, he stepped out but was caught in the melee of the traffic. He would step ahead, step back, step aside, step around, step over, jump, shout, hop, run forward, run back… and make a monkey of himself on the road

A short story but a long similarity with one of the most respected technology companies in the world: Hewlett Packard.HP has forever been caught on transition (it seems) with no strategy or long term thought on the way forward. There are many other examples of companies and boards that have been profligate and have squandered away all investor faith and confidence: Nokia, RIM, Yahoo and more.. and HP is certainly not the worst. It has managed to erode only about 50% of its market capitalization in the last 2 years or so, which is pretty neat.

HP’s stock price has mirrored the caprices of its board and CEOs

So here’s the folly list (or so i think):

1. So everyone wants to be Apple. But there aint no Apple No.2. HP failed to understand its own core proposition and went on the “ape” route.

2. Needless to say all of the HP smartphones and the touchpads found no takers. The markets already had Apple and Android to content with. If ever there was a third front, it was Microsoft.

3. Did HP’s BoD and Lee Apotheokar assume that mobile market to be simplistic enough that a Palm WebOS purchase would suffice? Ever since HP took over Palm, Palm and WebOS got more sidelined than ever.

4. After buying out Palm for 1.25 bln and the $1 bln restructuring cost booked in Q4 2010, the effort has been a drain on the resources and a massive let down for the shareholders.

5. Then came the announcement that HP is moving away from hardware business to software and consultancy focus.Many call this restructuring and I call that an IBM cloning.

6. Surprise! Surprise! Today morning newspapers report that HP actually doesnt want to sell it PC business now. About turn from stated strategic intent less than a month or so back.

7. Beat this then, when HP wants to side with Windows 8 for tablets! So Apothekar buys out Plam and WebOS and outlines a grand strategy for WebOS. Now CEO Meg Whitman does the boring and sundry and wants to get back to Windows 8.

Venturing into Mobile (and moving out), Buying WebOS (and failure to Leverage), Moving out of hardware and coming back to it. The question begs to be asked; Does the HP board know what is it that it is driving at. Or is it the monkey act in between all the chaos and confusion that tech industry always is.

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