Thursday, September 22, 2011

HP ... Buy it now?

Rumours are rife that HP's board is considering replacing their CEO with Meg Whitman, she of eBay success and, well, gubernatorial non-success.  HP just announced, as I was typing this post, that Meg Whitman will take over as the new CEO of HP, effective immediate.

They say that everyone looks at a new problem with the lens they already know.

So Leo Apotheker was a software guy and figured HP needed to do more software, hence wanting to sell off PCs and buy Autonomy.

If the lens analogy is true, then what would Meg Whitman's appointment bring? The auction of pez-dispenser shaped servers?

After 8 months on the HP board, Meg Whitman finds herself in charge of a company with $100bn in revenue, about 4% of which is software.  From 1998 to 2008, she grew revenue at eBay from $4m to $8bn - a stunning feat; but not the same as taking on HP? Ask Carly perhaps.

Interesting times ahead.  Rumours are now spreading that HP will be broken up into its component parts with each piece being sold off.

There will at least be an easy place for HP to auction off all of the remaining WebOS tablets and perhaps anything else that needs to be moved fast in the event of a breakup.

Update 23/9/11 (Via Silicon Alley Insider)


On a conference call with analysts, HP chairman Ray Lane spelled out the three reasons the board decided to can Leo Apotheker:

1. HP's executive team was not on the same page. "This is a big company that requires the executive team to be on the same page ... we didn't see an executive team working together," said Lane. [It must have been filled with executives fighting each other.]

2. No operating execution. Interestingly, Lane and the board like Apotheker's strategy, they just hate his inability to pull it off. Lane said Apotheker couldn't get down deep in the business to land it ahead of expectations.

3. Communications were horrible. Sounds like Apotheker's undoing started on August 18 when the company announced plans to kill the TouchPad, and potentially spin out the PC business. It was muddled message, and the board didn't appreciate it.

Lane wasn't just negative on Apotheker. He was also negative on Mark Hurd. He said Apotheker came and the company's spending had been cut to the bone and it couldn't operate. Apotheker had a strategy, but the board saw "weakness" and didn't think he'd get the job done.

Lane believes that the three areas of deficiency he outlined are strengths for Meg Whitman, the new CEO. Her greatest attributes are, "leadership," "team play," "communications," and "execution," according to Lane

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