When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Friday, August 19, 2011

HP's Leo Apotheker, Master of FUD

I use a HP Pavilion laptop in my work every day—it is a beautiful notebook PC with great functionality. When I bought it last December, I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes looking at various HP notebooks on the HP website before making the phone call to HP and ordering exactly what I needed—loaded with 64-bit Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 (even though I am a heavy Google user, I still need and use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).

I knew from past experience I didn’t need to waste time looking at alternative manufacturers. Even others were impressed when they saw my new HP: “It looks like an Apple!” (Only I have a lot more power at less cost with my HP than I could ever get with an Apple.) I have been a long-time customer of HP and also have 2 HP printers in my personal office. I use a smartphone and I’ve looked at tablets (including the iPad) but they will not replace my notebook PC anytime soon.  I am just one of millions (if not billions) of similarly situated “knowledge workers” worldwide.

All of that good will and market advantage that HP once had, was swept aside in one fell swoop yesterday by Leo Apotheker, HP’s CEO:

In a sweeping change for Hewlett-Packard, Leo Apotheker, the technology giant's chief executive, said Thursday that he was considering spinning off the company's personal computer business.*

Today I have just one question for Leo Apotheker—at what point did you decide to “trash” your company and the product area in which HP has been #1 and gains “strategic advantage?”

Remember what HP said earlier this year:

As recently as February, Todd Bradley, H.P.'s executive vice president for the company's computer division, insisted in an interview that the PC was still a valuable part of H.P.'s business. He dismissed speculation that the company would dump the unit. "The PC business has been strategically important to H.P," he said. "The strategic importance hasn't changed as the leadership changes."*

I’ll say one thing for Leo—he’s the master at creating FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about a company and its offerings. I can’t imagine Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Steve Ballmer, Michael Dell (or for that matter anyone other than Carol Bartz) being so inept.

H.P. said it would take 12 to 18 months to decide what to do with the PC unit. Meanwhile, it will continue to run the business as usual.*

I’ve got news for Leo—there is no more “business as usual” for HP’s PC unit after what he did yesterday.  

The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects