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Ex-Board Member Says HP Is Committing 'Corporate Suicide' 394

Posted by timothy
from the suicide-by-1000-cuts dept.
theodp writes "If Apple's looking for a seamless transition, advises the NYT's James B. Stewart, it definitely shouldn't look to Hewlett Packard. In the year after HP CEO Mark Hurd was told to hit-the-road-Jack, HP — led by new CEO Leo Apotheker — has embarked on a stunning shift in strategy that has left many baffled and resulted in HP's fall from Wall Street grace (its stock declined 49%). The apparent new focus on going head-to-head with SAP (Apotheker's former employer) and Oracle (Hurd's new employer) in enterprise software while ignoring the company's traditional strengths, said a software exec, is 'as if Alan Mulally left Boeing to join Ford as CEO, and announced six months later that Ford would be making airplanes.' Former HP Director Tom Perkins said, 'I didn't know there was such a thing as corporate suicide, but now we know that there is.'"
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Ex-Board Member Says HP Is Committing 'Corporate Suicide'

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  • Deja vu (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nokia, anyone?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Yeah, they should have stayed with making rubber boots. Heck, they should have stayed with making Paper.

    • Re:Deja vu (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:31AM (#37240258)

      they were screwed long before the current CEO took over. making feature phones and geek phones when apple and android are taking over is not a recipe for success

      • Re:Deja vu (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jhoegl (638955) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:43AM (#37240332)
        Kind of,

        HP has had so many leaders within the past 10 years that they have no idea what assets they have.
        Hell, HP bought a company that was a start up for the cloud idea back in... 2006 I think. They did nothing with it.
        Now they are scrambling to fix it up, and the offering wont be that great if current middle management has its way.
        HP lacks direction because quite simply HP hasnt had anyone worth a damn at the helm, leading to assets that they bought in the past to stagnate.

        HPs problem is literally itself.

        Their management style needs to change, middle management needs to be cleaned out and those that are smarter need to rise up.
        Until then, this company will bleed money, sell off divisions, and end up as small as it was back in 1995.
        If HP sells its printer lines, then you know they are in trouble.
        • Re:Deja vu (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sortius_nod (1080919) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:50AM (#37240384) Homepage

          The problems started when Fiorina, maybe even before that with the Compaq merger. They really haven't been able to do anything other than sell large volume servers since. No major projects really have come to fruition. Everything seems to turn into a clusterfuck for HP every time they swap CEOs.

          I remember a number of years ago a documentary on Silicon Valley where an ex-HP engineer said "HP's slogan is 'Invent', we stopped doing that years ago". I think that statement pretty much sums up HP.

          • HP's issue really started with the destruction of their R&D. Remember the days when you'd walk into a lab, and all the nice freq counters and 'scopes and muxers all had HP stickers on em?

            Right or wrong, they dropped that stuff like a bad habit and eradicated any aspect of HP's "think tank" culture. Granted, I'm certain that all five of their high-tech customers have missed them - but that signaled the shift toward The Cult of Printer Ink.

  • by yog (19073) * on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:14AM (#37240146) Homepage Journal

    Shouldn't HP have at least tried to make a go of their WebOs tablet before giving up so quickly? They can't possibly have recouped the investment costs of purchasing Palm, etc.

    It's not as though personal computers are going away any time soon. Corporations still need desktop workstations, albeit more in the direction of thin Internet portal devices than the heavily loaded computers of the past.

    HP should come out with a world class ultra lightweight laptop to compete with the MacBook Air, with a touch screen and very long battery life. They should come out with an innovative line of consumer and business PCs with touch screen monitors, tiny form factor similar to Mac Mini, remotely flashable, all the bells and whistles. And they should built on their handheld base, come out with some state of the art handsets and tablets to round out their portfolio.

    Software services is all very well, but there are plenty of competitors in that space and HP will not be having a picnic. Why did they buy compaq and Palm to begin with? Methinks the current board has taken leave of their senses.

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:27AM (#37240234)
      HP looks at the way IBM dumped the (cutthroat margin) PC and laptop market and survives on consulting and big iron and fantasizes that they can do the same. The days when HP could produce ANY world-class widget ended when they stopped being an instrument company at heart, probably in Lou Platt's day, but certainly by the end of the Evil Queen's reign. By then, they'd lost (or gotten rid of) all their top engineering talent, and were no longer one of "the top 10 places to work in the world". The Compaq, later (attempted) PWC and finally (completed) EDS and Palm deals are just the fenceposts along the way of HP losing its soul.
      • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:54AM (#37240414) Homepage

        I really don't think you can compare HP's aimlessness and IBMs ruthlessness. IBM actually probably did the smartest thing they could "fuck it, if you want the consumer end of the market China, you can have it".

        Meanwhile HP dumps what could have actually lifted them out of the doldrums and focuses on an already overcrowded market. Not exactly the smartest thing to do.

        Going up against SAP & Oracle is not as easy as it seems. Oracle isn't just Oracle, people forget this. Oracle is the base of a huge chunk of database systems (think... well... SAP & Maximo [IBM]).

      • by jonwil (467024)

        HPs problem is that IBM pretty much INVENTED the idea of the computer as something a company would buy (as opposed to something used by governments and universities) and have been at the "software and big iron and servers" game since before HP even started selling computers.

        HP competing with IBM (or even SAP or Oracle) in that space would be like Toyota trying to compete with Boeing or Airbus in the Jet airliner business.

        HP should keep doing the things its good at doing and that includes offering a full pac

      • by Creepy (93888)

        EDS was bleeding money when HP bought them, and had spun off profitable divisions to keep their stock from going junk. The remaining company was a services company that had lost major contracts like Onstar. Palm also had been bleeding money and losing marketshare, as well, as they lost big time in the move from PDA to Blackberry and smart phones. HP wanted to move out of the low profit PC market and into the high profit services company like IBM did, but buying failing services companies is probably not the

      • by Solandri (704621)
        It's a good lesson to any CEO thinking that engineering R&D generates very little return on investment, and so can be safely cut to reduce costs. HP cut R&D in favor of what it thought was directly driving their revenue - sales, manufacturing, and marketing. They're now learning that such a move limits their products to low-end easy-to-replicate low-margin items. R&D is what allows you to make and sell high-end high-profit hard-to-duplicate products. Heck, even their much-maligned inkjet pri
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you know what's palms biggest success? selling linux os TWICE(developing a linux os thrice) for large amounts of money to someone who makes no use of it. apotheker is seeing the ROI on his sw side and can't think that he should keep doing anything physical, when you can just rent out nerds at ridiculous pricing. the factories are owned by subcontractors already, though? so what they're doing is throwing away a strong consumer brand and consumer support organization. of course he isn't throwing away the swee

    • by Ecuador (740021) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:39AM (#37240306) Homepage

      I was looking at ebay over the weekend and the Touchpad 16GB auctions were all closing at around $250-$270 - and we are talking about 1 auction closing per minute!
      So, this means that they could have sold the Touchpad at around $300 (more for the 32GB version) and still sell-out in a few days. This would have been at a loss of R&D, as the cost of making them is astimated at around $315 & $330 for the 16GB and 32GB versions.
      Now, after selling out in a few days they would have a big installed WebOS base, so maybe the app store would take off.
      But nooo, they HAVE to sell their tablet at least $400, even though they are trying to enter late in a market dominated by Apple. And when they obviously can't do that, they simply give the tablets away and call it quits!
      Now THAT is corporate suicide and yet it stands second to Nokia's recent "FU developers - we take back our promises, BTW we are just another windows phone maker now".

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        As far as risk management goes, I think they already wrote off the WebOS as a loss, and sitting on that inventory for more than two months would have been a much worse story for HP and their "lack of vision and leadership" as bloggers frothed at the mouth, writing even more scathing articles about "hp's tablet was so bad it didn't even sell at cost. half their inventory is still unsold". Once the decision to can WebOS was made, unloading the tablets and announcing closing down the department was the smart m

      • by mickwd (196449) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:02AM (#37240480)

        I'd love to know whether there's something about the tech industry that makes it susceptible to this level of mismanagement, as so many tech companies seem to have been badly mismanaged over the years.

        Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Andy Grove at Intel (and perhaps Lou Gerstner turning around IBM) stand out amongst the rest as inspired CEOs, even if some of their business practises have left a little to be desired at times. But so many other once-dominant-in-their-field companies have just seemed to crash and burn.

        Maybe I'm wrong and all other industries suffer from the same level of management problems - it's just that the technology industry is the one I'm most familiar with.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:19AM (#37240628)

          The people you mention were engineers and technologists, not bean counters. I guess that's the difference.

        • by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Monday August 29, 2011 @10:12AM (#37241100)
          HP has a history of horrible CEOs, but you'll notice the key difference is that all three of your examples were co-founders of their respective companies. They actually cared for the company to succeed in the long-term as their legacy and not JUST line their pockets with money, watch the company burn, and skip on to their next CXO job. It seems in the tech-industry, once management is brought in from outside the founders of the company it will inevitably tank (see Sun, etc.) -- IBM being a significant exception. We'll see about Apple now...
        • by DavidTC (10147) <[slas45dxsvadiv. ... ] [neverbox.com]> on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:34AM (#37242148) Homepage

          Maybe I'm wrong and all other industries suffer from the same level of management problems - it's just that the technology industry is the one I'm most familiar with.

          You are. This sort of shortsighted next-quarter-stock-prices chasing happens in all industry. It's a fairly obvious flaw of how a stock market distorts the free market....stockholders are the bosses, and at some point it because easier to make money by bumping up the stock price for two months and selling their stock to new unsuspecting people, than to actually get paid any dividends from the profits of the company.

          In other words, the American economy operates by trading intangible assets from one person to another and hoping that they make worse guesses than you in selecting what and when to buy, instead of actually paying people to take $X worth of goods, put in $Y worth of labor, and selling to customers for $X+$Y+profit.

      • CEO background (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:08AM (#37240532)
        What do you expect? How on Earth did HP come to appoint a CEO from a software-only company that has probably never seen an end user customer in his life? It isn't as if Ford appointed a CEO from Boeing; it is as if they appointed a CEO from a fleet leasing company. The result; a decision announced in haste that was bound to deprecate HP as a brand. Apotheker seems to have forgotten - or did not know - that today's phone buyer may be tomorrow's CIO.

        Yes, the could have sold the tablets at a small loss. And, since the Pre 2 phone sells happily in its unlocked state at around $200 in the UK, they could have sold off the Pre 3 for maybe a little more. Legally in the EU they must support the things, so they might as well do it properly. But no...

        I happen to like phones with portrait format and keyboards. Some people do. I'm now having to look at the BB Torch 9810 for a next phone. It doesn't look to be as good or as convenient as the Pre 3. OK the screen is smaller that an iPhone's, the processor is slower than on a Samsung. But the actual operation as a phone/messaging device is that much nicer than either. Some people prefer, say, the Prius to an Audi or a BMW. HP just never bothered to find its market and then market to it. Yet if there was a company that could have taken on RIM, it was HP.

        • Watching HP change from an innovator and creator of truly innovative products into a marketing flagship has been disappointing. They spun off their truly innovative activities to Agilent, and instead sought to become largely a brand-name stamped on generic low quality computers that could have been made by any number of competitors. In my opinion this is a result of adopting business school ideology in the management of the company. The MBA type managers had very little actual knowledge of technology. T

    • HP should come out with a world class ultra lightweight laptop to compete with the MacBook Air, with a touch screen and very long battery life. They should come out with an innovative line of consumer and business PCs with touch screen monitors, tiny form factor similar to Mac Mini, remotely flashable, all the bells and whistles.

      So instead of innovating, they should copy Apple. Got it. Seems other companies are in trouble for doing just that and getting trounced. They're not going to make any impact by continuing to play catch up with 2nd rate devices and services. Each of these big companies have a large budget for R&D, adding on obvious things is not the best use of those resources.

    • by vlm (69642)

      HP should ...

      They should ...

      And they should ...

      They can't. All the "do-ers" "makers" whatever you want to call them, were downsized years (decades?) ago to boost stock proce. Nothing left. The death of the company is the endgame of that strategy.

      They'd have to start over, and try to hire back all the people they fired, at a higher pay rate because once burned twice shy, etc. Frankly your average startup would be a better place to work, so they're going to have severe issues just getting to personnel to even try what you suggest.

      Its much more like a

    • by AJH16 (940784)

      HP already has a very nice offering in the virtual PC terminal arena which is probably going to be the future direction for a lot of corporate IT.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Shouldn't HP have at least tried to make a go of their WebOs tablet before giving up so quickly?

      No, they shouldn't have. Jumping into a market with 3 much larger, better connected competitors, who have the loyalties of 3rd parties was just stupid. HP is not, will not be, and should not try to be Apple. They were probably contractually obliged to produce something, or were so far along that they had to finish, but they should have realized this was a stupid plan from the get go.

      It's not as though personal computers are going away any time soon. Corporations still need desktop workstations, albeit more in the direction of thin Internet portal devices than the heavily loaded computers of the past.

      HP should come out with a world class ultra lightweight laptop to compete with the MacBook Air, with a touch screen and very long battery life. They should come out with an innovative line of consumer and business PCs with touch screen monitors, tiny form factor similar to Mac Mini, remotely flashable, all the bells and whistles.

      Those are low margin high competition businesses. Apple, or apple suppliers probably have the macbook air locked down pate

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:17AM (#37240162) Homepage Journal

    I'm not saying this was a great idea or that the execution was ideal but there is precedent. IBM long known as a hardware company shifted to software and services in a fairly short period of time and seems to be doing quite well at it. If this new CEO has a vision and a strategy behind it HP could end up better off.

    I was personally looking forward to more WebOS devices though.

    • WebOS - Try Samsung (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:30AM (#37240246)

      I was personally looking forward to more WebOS devices though.

      Well, reportedly, Samsung is still interested in WebOS. Where before they were interested in licensing it off of HP ( http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/29/hp-confirms-its-in-talks-about-licensing-webos-samsung-tipped/ [engadget.com] ), they may now just grab it outright.. even if only as a precautionary move to the recent Google-buys-Motorola move ( http://www.slashgear.com/samsung-webos-rumors-reignite-amid-ex-hp-pc-vp-grab-29174760/ [slashgear.com] ).

      Personally I'm not sure why they'd be doing that. They're going strong with Android - which, while heavily Google-influenced, is under governance of the OHA - while on their lower-end systems they've got their own OS already - Bada.

      Though if there's any chance of WebOS going forward, Samsung would be a good place to start. Them or Huawei, perhaps. Not seeing HTC being interested.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:42AM (#37240324) Journal
      I am fond of webOS(application base is tiny; but the interface is actually quite well thought out. The "cards" work quite well. Hell, maybe team Google will pick up their smoldering remains at the firesale and polish up the 'chromebooks' with some of the UI touches...)

      As for the IBM analogy, though, HP has a hard road ahead of it. IBM has always made hardware; but they've always had a software/support/consulting arm extracting its pound of flesh along with the hardware, from back when their job was to customize the Hollerith card reader for your application up the the present 'enterprise database middleware yadda yadda' stuff. They did ditch their desktop/laptop business, and they will, if asked, sell you some bare servers, dell style, for just cost+warranty; but they have always been a combined hardware/services entity. HP, by contrast, is more of a pure hardware/engineering shop that has been bleeding actual engineering talent for a while now.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Yes, in fact it was one of their great failings in the PC market, they were too heavy on selling support contracts, implementation services and the corporate desktop, completely ignoring what happened with the consumer market. That and over-engineered and over-tested solutions built to last 20 years from top-rated components with huge stockpiles of spare parts. They were still in the Big Iron mindset, where people want an exact replacement for whatever setup they've tested and certified. So the support cont

      • by vlm (69642)

        HP, by contrast, is more of a pure hardware/engineering shop that has been bleeding actual engineering talent for a while now.

        Can't bleed forever, there's practically no one left. General /. public has this idea that HP is still an engineering corp that makes scopes... not so. They can not get out of their predicament by "engineering" solutions because they downsized or spun off all those guys. They have done "eh" at consumer electronics. They can continue their "eh" performance at importing Chinese hardware and marketing it as HP, or they can try something new. The new options do not involve innovation or engineering or cons

      • I am fond of webOS(application base is tiny; but the interface is actually quite well thought out. The "cards" work quite well. Hell, maybe team Google will pick up their smoldering remains at the firesale and polish up the 'chromebooks' with some of the UI touches...)

        Google's one step ahead of you :-D When Palm sold to HP, Google moved in and lured away the guy who designed the webOS user interface, Mathias Duarte. [allthingsd.com] His current job title there [linkedin.com] is "Director, Android User Experience", so it's safe to assume

      • Re:IBM did the same (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Baikala (564096) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:02AM (#37241744) Journal
        About 10 years ago a couple of Alpha servers (Tru64 Unix) and EMA storage in a cluster arrangement was as fast and as stable you can get below the mainframe category (thanks to DEC VAX multiprocessor and shared memory technologies). The natural evolution of the alphas never came out of HP because of their infatuation with Intel Itanium processors, and see how that affair ended up.
    • The difference is that when IBM was a hardware company people bought their hardware for the software and services that came with it. In its heyday as a hardware vendor, the type of software and services that it sold were thought of as part of the hardware. It made the switch from a primarily hardware company to a software and services company when it realized that all of its hardware competitors had gone out of business and all of the companies that it was competing with for business were software and servi
      • by jmauro (32523)

        EDS was fading before HP bought them. They basically got into a multibillion dollar fixed-price contract with the government (NMCI) that they completely underestimated the costs for and wound up losing a fortune. HP acquired them in the death spiral when they were ridiculously cheap.

        If anything HP slowed EDS's decline rather than causing them to lose their luster.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:01AM (#37240474) Journal

      IBM always had good software to support their hardware. HP ships 344mb [hp.com] printer drivers.

      • by Jawnn (445279)
        mod parent up - underrated. The comment is concise and insightful - pointing out HP's wholesale abandonment of engineering excellence. Me? I think it started over twenty years ago, when they realized that they could adopt the "free razors" marketing strategy for their line of ink jet printers. Profitable? Sure, but not the kind of thing that stands up as a market gets crowded.
      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:46AM (#37240874)

        Hmm... that sounds like a a good value to me.

        When I choose HP, I'm getting more printer driver for my dollar.

    • When IBM shed it's PC division, it was already a somewhat modest chunk of their revenue (less than 10% of their revenue), lost money three years in a row, and represented less than 5% of the PC market. There was some non-trivial impact to IBM's x86 server business, but generally speaking the PC division didn't give IBM good financials and the x86 server business learned to continue without PC division there.

      Now let's look at HP. Their PSG represents a good third of their revenue. That division operates w

    • IBM is retaining some inertia because of old reputation, but that is fading, numbers seam to be stagnant at best, reality is that they are just another IT industry service man, no "big blue" anymore. It is like if Jobs sold Apple hardware division to China, focused on "software solutions" and then contemplated about being a smart exec to cut the low profit margin hardware level stuff.
      • I guess those Jeopardy-playing robots don't count as research? That's just an example, but you know and I know that IBM has a strong research arm (including important basic research) that HP lacks. Indeed, IBM's research arm is world-class.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      IBM is still a hardware company for a large part. They just don't sell consumer-grade devices any more.
      Basically IBM sells servers with full vertical integration.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:19AM (#37240182) Homepage Journal

    n/t

    (No this is not a fricken defense of HP, I could give a shit if HP shoots itself in the head.)

  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:19AM (#37240184) Journal

    Oh yeah? Well my NEXT company is like TOTALLY gonna crush you guys! You'll be living in cardboard boxes by the time I'm through with you! (Commence mad zealous scheme to try and use another company to crush SAP)

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:24AM (#37240216)

    HP used to mean printers in the minds of many people. That time faded. Today, they're at best one of the many printer manufacturers, no longer the ones defining standards and leading the way. Servers/Computers? They sure dropped that ball too. Dell is where people go for ready-made computers today.

    So what's left for HP? HP is a company looking for a market, I'd guess. Every time I see something like this, I can't help but wonder whether their costs are just too high to compete with another player in the field and are now looking for a market that they can either corner or where the competition charges even more outrageous prices. And looking at how they try to muscle into the markets of SAP and Oracle, I'd say it's the latter.

    • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:32AM (#37240272)

      HP used to mean printers in the minds of many people. That time faded.

      In my mind HP will always be remembered as being the one of the best test equipment manufacturers, followed closely by calculators. A company that was by engineers, for engineers.

      • by bhodikhan (894485) *
        The best part of HP is their instrumentation business. This was spun off as Agilent. They still stand out in the market and are very competitive. Too bad HP forgot to keep innovating.
      • HP used to mean printers in the minds of many people.

        Then they had to pay for an ink cartridge, and the word "ripoff" came to mind..

    • Or so I thought when I heard HP was mass producing memristors. Memory that was far denser, faster, and longer lived than current flash memory technologies. It was so good, memristor based memory products would also replace DRAM and SRAM, and we'd finally have computers that would not forget everything when the power was cut. Was that just so much talk and vaporware?
      • by vlm (69642)

        Or so I thought when I heard HP was mass producing memristors. Memory that was far denser, faster, and longer lived than current flash memory technologies

        No, not it was not. No shipable memristor product has come close to current tech, even in the lab, lab curiosities are not even close to off the shelf tech, with unknown yields. The vaporware promised that theoretically it could happen. The problem is the current tech is improving faster than memristor R+D is improving, and current tech is actually shipping in quantity.

        I could quote that in 5 years we'll have flash with 10 times the density and one tenth the cost of today. (This is actually pretty reaso

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I think HP as a company has been focussing too much on cost reduction and too little on innovation.

      And now they have lost their touch and it will be very hard to regain footing.

  • So, I guess this is what happens when you have a CEO with the 100% of the EGO/CONTROL issues as Steve Jobs yet 0% of the VISION. Seems too bad for HP.
  • Given HPs current actions they should be put in a padded cell with their laces and belt removed. It's current actions are retarded and their CEO should be thrown out of the corporate jet.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:26AM (#37240226) Journal

    It's time we start acknowledging that CEOs of publicly traded companies don't give a shit about the companies they are supposed to lead. They got into positions thanks to buddy networks and golf course chats. These people are supremely capable at social manipulation and lining their own pockets.

    Why, is the HP CEO in any way going to feel the sting if he leaves a smoldering corpse of a company behind him? Is he not going to get paid? Scrap that: is he not going to get handsomely paid + bonuses + golden parachute? So why the fuck wouldn't he blow up HP? The guy is getting paid in either case, so why not get on with his psychopathy and have fun with wanton destruction of other people's lives?

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:43AM (#37240336) Homepage

      To add more evidence to this, consider how well Carly Fiorina has been treated in the press. When she was running for public office, all the press was on how she was a successful businesswoman who knew how to make an organization successful, despite all the evidence that the opposite was true.

    • John Stewart had an author on a few weeks ago that claimed a disproportionate percentage of CEOs were sociopaths - i.e. those for whom guilt and conscience have little meaning.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        John Stewart had an author on a few weeks ago that claimed a disproportionate percentage of CEOs were sociopaths - i.e. those for whom guilt and conscience have little meaning.

        Well if it is your job to direct the company as a whole its best not to be bogged down with how your vision negatively affects Jimmy in the stock room or Mary in the typing pool (and yes I remember when secretaries et al actually typed), otherwise you would end up paralyzed with indecision.

        • Just so you know, there's a difference between "good, strong leadership" and "sociopathy".

          • by OzPeter (195038)

            Just so you know, there's a difference between "good, strong leadership" and "sociopathy".

            Yeah, but either way you make the little people dance - whether it is for your pleasure or their benefit, you still make them dance.

    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:53AM (#37240406)

      Say what you will about Apple and Steve Jobs, but at least Jobs gave a damn about the products his company made.

      • THERE is the real story in all of this. ONE company's CEO wants the "best" products, the other doesn't want products at all. What is funny is that Apple once didn't want to make great products, and ended up getting its lunch handed to them from a start up called PowerComputing. HP is going the way of old Apple, and they may need to bring back someone fanatical about its products.

        On a side note, I'm glad HP has lost almost half its value since they made the announcement. Maybe the board will fire the guy and

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:29AM (#37240244) Journal
    I've heard that their Big Serious Expensive has its points; but every interaction with HP software that I've had down at the "commodity x86s and their peripherals" level has filled me with an unquenchable desire for bloody vengeance upon every last persons responsible for it.

    Their winCE thin clients have had timekeeping bugs in certain models(that engineering kindly verified and then decided not to fix...) Their linux ones have glaring security deficiencies that they wouldn't even acknowledge our bug reports about(Hypothetically, if you were adding a diagnostic page that allowed the user of a 'kiosk' system to use ping to verify connectivity, would you implement it by giving them a freeform text field and then prepending 'ping' to whatever they entered and dumping it straight to the shell without any sanitization? Well, the input "$IP_ADDRESS && xterm" certainly suggests that HP did... For extra credit, the 'kiosk' program was running under a passwordless account on the sudoers list...)

    The firmware of their network printers has been a mess for years, and their printer drivers(even for the workgroup networked printers with PCL/Postscript, let's not even talk about the direct-attached inkjet shit) actually seems to be getting worse as time goes on. Servers and workstations are ok, largely by virtue of being more or less stock intel or AMD kit, with drivers provided by people who don't utterly suck.

    I know that hardware's margins don't keep the Wall street boys happy; but what sort of insanity could convince HP that they are a software company?
  • Considering that Mulally launched one of the most bodged development programs at Boeing, the 787. Not only did this program reach in the direction of considerably technical improvement over current generation products, it did it with a design and build methodology that Boeing had never tried before.

    This irresponsible cock up by the board, headed by Mulally, drove the 787 to be over three years late for EIS, with huge problems yet to rectify, and Boeing billions of dollars worse off.

    Mulally has a lot of great achievements, but the world would see him completely differently if he had remained at Boeing to see out even the first few years of the 787 debacle. Instead, he bailed early on and now is remembered for the positive work he has done at Ford.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Kicking Boeing for being chronically late on delivery and grossly overbudget. Either you're new to the aviation industry, or you didn't grow up in washington state ;) You're forgetting that you're talking about a defense contractor. over half their revenue comes from defense spending [stock-analysis-on.net]. This is completely par for the course. In the 1990's there was a big hubbub about Boeing not even being sure if they were running at a profit or a loss.

  • Maybe they've decided that no US company can win a market where manufacturing is outsourced, which means unless they win the software race, they're out of business eventually anyway.

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:55AM (#37240422) Homepage

    "'as if Alan Mulally left Boeing to join Ford as CEO, and announced six months later that Ford would be making airplanes."

    You realize that Ford DID make airplanes a long time ago. Not only that but they were GOOD at it.

    • by theVarangian (1948970) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:50AM (#37240900)

      You realize that Ford DID make airplanes a long time ago. Not only that but they were GOOD at it.

      Actually all Ford did was buy up a company that had shamelessly copied much of the technology behind what became the Ford Trimotor from Junkers Flugzeugbau AG in Germany (the same kind of intellectual property borrowing the US is now complaining that China does). One could almost say the Ford Trimotor was a Fokker F.VII made with Junkers' methods. In fact the Fokker F.VII and the Ford Trimotor look so much alike people often confuse photographs of the two even though the two aircraft used completely different construction methods. Mind you the Ford was easily the superior design... thanks in no small measure to Prof. Junkers. Ford's significant contribution was not their designs, it was the way they applied Ford's assembly line techniques to aircraft production making their prices highly competitive which was one of the reasons why Junkers never managed to get much of a foothold on the US market. Ford later contributed hugely to the 18.000 plus B.24 bombers made during the war.

  • You know, I could also make stupid, ass-backwards decisions for $millions of dollars per year. Heck, I'll take half of whatever you're paying the current clown. Here's my resume HP, I hope you'll consider that I probably have a better background to run your company because I am actually familiar with your products, unlike you're current CEO, who obviously has decided that being CEO of HP means burning it to the ground and hopefully making a small pile of the ashes to chop up among the primary shareholders.

  • by theodp (442580) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:11AM (#37240562)

    H-P's One-Year Plan (WSJ): Let's say you were given a year to kill Hewlett-Packard. Here's how you do it [wsj.com].

  • [quote]"If Apple's looking for a seamless transition, advises the NYT's James B. Stewart, it definitely shouldn't look to Hewlett Packard. In the year after HP CEO Mark Hurd was told to hit-the-road-Jack, HP — led by new CEO Leo Apotheker — has embarked on a stunning shift in strategy that has left many baffled and resulted in HP's fall from Wall Street grace (its stock declined 49%). The apparent new focus on going head-to-head with SAP (Apotheker's former employer) and Oracle (Hurd's new emplo
  • Did I just read that Oracle was the Hurd's new employer ? Someone wake up Ninja Stallman. [xkcd.com] Ang get me more coffee...
  • It must be almost as bad a decision as when Apple decided they wanted to build phones ...
  • Does any one else wonder why all these CEO's have funny last names?

  • by failedlogic (627314) on Monday August 29, 2011 @10:41AM (#37241460)

    I went on the HP careers website. I typed in CEO and executive and there does not appear to be a job opening at the moment. Strange, I think, since many other employer websites are always accepting applications.

    I don't have experience as a manager or executive. Over the years though, I have owned several HP last printers, a desktop and a laptop. This is probably more HP merchandise than all previous CEOs combined have ever purchased. So I know a bit about the company's products.

    I'm not after the multi-million dollar salary - $900,000 ought to be good enough and I think it is survivable in this economy. I'll work as hard as I can for 6 hours a day. Between lunch and coffee breaks, I think this is about the most I can honestly commit. As additional compensation, I'll settle for Apple, Oracle and IBM stock options instead of HP's.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday August 29, 2011 @10:46AM (#37241528) Journal
    they would move the production back to America and focus on INNOVATION. It is easy enough to do. However, HP no longer does that. Right now, the only major American company that is into innovation is Apple and google. The reason is that we have allowed too many MBAs to run companies. If you notice, neither Apple nor Google has MBA's running them. Sadly, Apple's new CEO IS an MBA, and he will probably destroy them.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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