So many myths!
Sorry, but the article is completely wrong on so many points. The Agilent split had already started under Lew Platt, before Carly Fiorina got her bum on the driving seat, and was too late for her to stop. As it is, Agilent Tech sold off the old medical equipment parts to Phillips anyway, and has since languished as a smaller tech company (currently $10.8bn market cap and only $270m net income in the last quarter). If she deemed it necessary, Carly could have bought the company back at any time. Indeed, hp could now afford to buy it out of the petty cash.
The important split Carly did stop was the one where the OpenView part of the company wanted to hive itself off, which kept hp in system management and built the basis of the "deploy, manage, upgrade and migrate all in one management package" mantra that has made the hp blades products the undisputed market leaders. Carly realised that, in a game where many players would be using the same chips and disks and interconnects, the "secret sauce" was going to be the management software, so she kept the OpenView team inhouse.
Under Carly, hp really developed and pushed the Adaptive Enterprise, effectively private clouds, only years before the market was ready for it. But she was also quick to realise the market wasn't ready and made sure the product could be reworked and modularised, meaning hp re-used developments rather than the "buy-try-dump" phillosophy of Hurd.
As to all the trolls saying hp has since been "a disaster", you have to laugh as the results show Carly turned the company from an engineering-led, bumbling giant, into the leading IT company, bar none. When Carly came in, hp were the number five vendor behind IBM, Compaq (which had swallowed DEC to overtake hp), Sun and EMC, and with Dell rapidly gaining on hp. The buyout of Compaq only lifted hp to number three, there was still lots of work to do. Yet within four years she had lifted hp to number one, chased IBM out of the Wintel desktop business, defeated Dell at their own game, and happilly watched Sun commit the type of bumbling techno-suicide that hp was intent on before her arrival. Lew Platt was old-school hp, an engineer and genuinely nice guy. Carly was no engineer, and not "nice", but she was what hp needed at the time - a businessperson. Hurd is just a pale imitation of Carly, and did litle more than execute on her general strategy.
There is a reason Livermore has been passed over, and it's voiced by many hp old-timers I know - she's just not up to the job. Given a task she can execute, but she doesn't have vision. On the board she will provide some balance, but she is not right to lead it. Meg Whitman will make a good (temporary?) choice as she will steady the ship and restore Will Street's confidence in hp (because Wall Street is full of business people, not techies, and they look at Whitman and see her as a businessperson), but I do think they need to find a long-term option and this time it needs to be someone with all three traits - businessperson, techie, and visionary. Whitman ticks two out of the three boxes, we'll see if she can make all three.
There is a lot more to being a top tech company than just having good engineers, you also need people that can predict business/user requirements and market/sell the products. Apple is good at all three in the consumer niche (and Apple has failed miserably elsewhere, such as servers). Sun originally had all three, but later was lauded for its engineers whilst failing miserably at the visionary bits and the marketting, and died. Hp is currently not good at marketting and stumbling in the visionary bits. Apothiker had a vision, one which he sold the hp board on, he just seems to have been a disaster at execution and needed to engage his brain before his mouth. It will be interesting to see what course Whitman steers.