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back to article HP Labs chief Prith Banerjee departs

Prith Banerjee, the head of HP Laboratories, has resigned for undisclosed reasons and is joining Zurich-based power and automation tech outfit ABB. Banerjee, SVP of research and the HP Labs director, is officially leaving on 15 April. HP CEO Meg Whitman issued a letter about his departure yesterday, which says: "He will be …

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Coat

[Dalek enters room]

Wife: How's Mr Banerjee?

Dalek: HE'S NOT FEELING TOO WELL.

Wife: Oh why?

Dalek: BECAUSE I EXTERMINATED HIM.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly, the heart was ripped out of HP Research a number of years ago in the quest for projects which would provide a quick ROI.

HP has produced some truly innovative products in the distant past. That is no longer possible given the current state of HP Research.

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Headmaster

productised??

Is that even a word?

No bloody wonder HP's going downhill fast.

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Flame

Re: productised??

Anything can be a word in the post-Bush world

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Anonymous Coward

And to be fair

----- In contrast, we are told by someone familiar with the situation that Banerjee "presided over the virtual demise of a once very solid research facility. Word on the shop floor was that he was brought in (to replace the well-respected Dick Lampman) because ... he posed no threat to the then-CTO."

It was obviously one of Shane's more inspired decisions - he never did.......

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Flame

The Rot Started With Lew Platt

Platt had a mechanical engineering degree and an MBA. When I was with HP I read a piece from Platt where he told employees that "HP has to focus on reducing inventory" (something to that effect). I never heard or read him talking/writing about anything technologically innovative.

Everybody was on the "let's focus on soft skills" and "don't discriminate minorities and women" trip. Plus, defeatism was ripe at HP under Platt. Oracle has a database engine ? Ok, let's scrap Allbase SQL. Microsoft has something which faintly resembles a proper OS ? Ok, let's sell it for them. It must be better than HP-UX and MPE, because we all know they aren't perfect (At that time these OSs were way more robust than Windows NT, but never mind). Intel has plans for a 64bit CPU ? Ok, let's kill our own PA-RISC team. There is a woman executive looking for a high-flying job ? Ok, that will nicely mesh with our politically-correct complex - make her CEO. Never mind she's just a salesgirl.

Meanwhile the Alpha-Males Jobs, Ballmer, Gates and Ellison trump their half-arsed contraptions with maximum intensity and will never give up. Like little boys kicking and screaming; not accepting any rational argument. But being loyal to their own products.

The kickers-and-screamers won. The politically correct soft skillers got steamrolled. Rightly so.

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FAIL

One More Observation - HP Software

HP had a line of software products called "HP OpenView". They still have it. 10 years ago, these products would sell very nicely.

The only serious problem with OpenView was that it was just a marketing umbrella. They did not have a common message bus or common/similar RPC interfaces or common messaging formats. Nor did they use a common repository.

All they managed to do was to dump their data into the same Ingres database; but of course each application had their completely separate schema. At that time MS already built stuff based on COM (now DCOM), which is still one of the foundations of modern Windows and MS Office.

But I guess these antics were directly caused by the "soft skills" mantra. If you disregard technological excellence, you get crap technology as a result. And then, MS, Oracle and Google are indeed much better providers of technology.

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Anonymous Coward

Dilbert alert

Which 30 projects to choose? What about ones that contain the letter 'c' 'a' or 't'?

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Meh

Pure research

Does any company even do this anymore. Bell Labs was famous for it. But, then again, Bell totally sat on magnetic tape for 50 effing years because they feared it would hurt their business. Oh well, we can accidentally find out about the Big Bang, but we can't have a technology that would have shortened WWII by a few million lives.

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FAIL

About HP

and why I never really liked them. I worked for a spell at the Salvation Army trying to make cast-off computers and peripherals sort of go again. HP [and esp. Compaq] made stuff that was intentionally very difficult to work with, while Dell machines were a joy -- you were supposed to work with them. But what I hated most about HP was their printers. Mind, they were good printers, but the problem was that each and every Gdm'ed model had its very own power plug. They were ALL different. You could not just plug a printer into the wall. Oh no.That would have been too simple {read: lost money}. So in order to plug certain things in, I had to spend literally HOURS looking though large boxes of power cords to (hopefully) find one that would work without, say, blowing up. Still, they made excellent printers. They were just unfailingly annoying.

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Stop

Re: About HP

That must be a long time ago. All the HP printers I know use either the Kaltgerätestecker or some proprietary Plug+transfomer. But the latter is S.O.P. with all sorts of devices which need low-voltage power. Why didn't you just solder the low-power cables of a voltage-compatible power supply to the printers ?

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Bronze badge

Memristor

It's interesting to see HP putting effort into memristor research. So the management of HP are still sensitive to the commercial lure of research.

Mind you given HP's track record over the past decade or so that lure really must be particularly strong. They've thrown a lot of other promising little nuggets of ideas in the bin.

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