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back to article HP: We're axing 29,000 workers? Add another 5,000 to that

HP will lay off 5,000 more workers than the 29,000 positions earmarked for redundancy in July. The increase is mentioned in a Hewlett-Packard 10-K filing to US financial watchdog the SEC. The paperwork states on page 118: As of July 31, 2013, HP estimated that it would eliminate approximately 29,000 positions in connection with …

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I really hate to see these kind of things happen to any company

I hope they are not still waiting for Microsoft to save them.

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While

While the CEO Meg Whitman toasts in the New Year with expensive champagne dreaming of how she will spend her pay rise and bonus for saving the company money without giving a second thought to the lives that will be blighted.

In a year or so she will leave having failed, but not without a very golden handshake and share options and private health care etc etc....

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Big Brother

Re: While

Saving lives from the blight is not her job description!

In reality, "the economy" should absorb that. I thought there were a dearth of skilled IT people?

Or are we still aching from the skewed economy due to endless interest rate manipulations by the "people in charge"? Let me take a look outside...

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Re: While

I think she will buy another company to run into the ground before she leaves.

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Anonymous Coward

@Destroy All monsters

There isn't a dearth of IT workers. Their positions are being filled with H1-B Visa holders. They are cheaper and scared to death of losing their jobs and having to go home. I know my employer is pushing "immigration reform" so they can import workers who won't complain about safety issues and pay.

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Re: While

@DestroyAllMonsters

I thought there were a dearth of skilled IT people?

Skilled IT people do no longer work for HP, they all left when Alpha & Tru64 were canned and OpenVMS was put in the closet ...

Tru64 and VMS should have been THE server OS's, should have been ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Tru64 and VMS should have been THE server OS's"

"Tru64 and VMS should have been THE server OS's, should have been ..."

Given recent developments in the worlds of Microsoft (and to a lesser extent for servers, Apple) a bit of suitable investment could in theory still make it happen. The average MS-dependent IT department would need a few changes though.

Obviously HP no longer employ the relevant VMS/Tru64 engineering people, but given that HP HQ are clearly clueless anyway, the job would only make sense outside HP anyway.

I suspect a few of the relevant engineering people (including the ones who did software testing, and the ones who wrote real manuals, ah those were the days) might be available, given suitable motivation. Again, subject to the job being *outside* HP.

Hmmm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: While

"Tru64 and VMS should have been THE server OS's, should have been "

Well VMS sort of is - large parts of Windows are based on a similar approach to VMS, and were written by the same guy - Dave Cutler. That's why Windows has granular ACL based security and auditing built in from the bottom up for instance...And has a Microkernel architecture as is required for the highest levels of security certifications such as EAL 7...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: While

"Windows has a Microkernel architecture "

Where do you get that strange idea?

"Windows ... as is required for the highest levels of security certifications such as EAL 7..."

EAL 7? "Formally Verified Design and Tested"?

Windows? Formally verified design and tested? You gotta be joking.

EAL4 ("Methodically Designed, Tested, and Reviewed") has been recorded for some flavors of Windows, same as it has for some flavors of Linux (and some other OSes).

Somebody's misunderstood something, or not had enough coffee, or is trolling.

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Byz

The biggest upheaval since the early 1990's

It's sad for HP employees, but the world is changing rapidly.

The iPhone is almost 7 years old but it set in motion changes that couldn't have been foreseen then.

In the late 1980's I worked on various DEC/Digital hardware and languages, the future seemed certain 10 years later it was all gone :(

The PC swept all before it (which was a very sad) so I had to retrain to look after NT servers.

The same now is happening to the PC as most tablets do most of what the average person needs.

Luckly I retrained a few years ago (Phew!).

Happy new year all and make it your new years resolution to have up to date skills (don't fight it go with the flow!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The biggest upheaval since the early 1990's

So now you are looking after iPhone servers ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The biggest upheaval since the early 1990's

No no....

Tablet servers, running W8

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Coat

Re: Tablet servers, running W8

The tablet servers gained so much W8 that they're now as big a computers....

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all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

HP was once a great company. their products lasted forever, were high priced but worth their money. every penny. then they bought compaq (after they choked after their digital purchase). whatever. they needed to cut costs, and therefore product lines. cheap compaq lines like ‘presario’ were rebranded as HP. useless crap. cheap chipsets from SIS, very little updates & support. they deserved to be oblivious. the only good products they make today are their server lines, though too pricey.

however, i still love HP. they have given birth to my ‘HP laserjet’. the thing does not even have a model number. it’s ONE. after that the laserjet TWO came out, a big success. but the ONE was groundbreaking, breathtaking, everlasting, reliable, goodwilled, cheap-to-use … i can go on longer. the thing prints 8 pages a minute, crisp, in courir since it has only 128MB RAM. whatever. it works. it’s almost 30 years old. it works. HP quality…. from back-then.

but now i hate HP, at the same time. i have a mid-priced inkjet ‘officejet-pro’, which, as a ‘pro’, i had great hopes for the machine. turned out a 5 cent piece of electric tape made it work again …. after HP tried to rip me off, and force me to buy another color cartridge. for $30.

my HP laserjet still works. if that inkjet ever dies, i just go back to my 30 year old HP printer, and smile, while i’m feeling the nice warmed up pages coming out of it. i love HP!

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Pint

Re: all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

After a little thought, it seems like one analogy to use for HP is that they're in the technology company garbage collection business. They buy businesses that are soon to be obsolete, churn them through their internal sausage grinder and hope that some unsupecting customer buys the sausage, not knowing what's in the "sausage".

HP buys (or at least used to buy) tech companies whose technology had (or will soon) become obsolete.

Just a few of the USD 1Billion+ purchases:

VeriFone

3COM

Compaq ( Couldn't compete against PC x86 clones includes DEC (couldn't compete against PC x86 clones)

Palm/WebOS (what a shame..)

EDS (how can we forget that one? - 14 beellion dollars)

116 companies (and counting):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Hewlett-Packard

And now their core printing business is soon to be obsolete because no one is printing anything anymore:

The consumers have moved on to on-line or kiosk printing (when they decide to print anything at all) and business is moving away as well.

Kodak and Fuji are battling it out on the kiosk front..

I can't remember the last time I printed anything on paper, I just load it onto my tablet or PC and display on projector in the conference room or it's attached to an email....

The one business sector that still is relevant Agilent, they sold (go figure).

I hope their Enterprise Sevices divison has their stuff together, because that's the only area that I see any growth at all in.

I never cared for HP computers, their drivers always sucked and even finding them on their website sucked bad (this goes back a few years, don't know if they're better now).

(Another) pint to the 5000 additional now having to find work to live and support their families..

I am really concerned about were all of this is going to end..

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FAIL

Re: all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

".... DEC (couldn't compete against PC x86 clones)"

Wrong.

DEC's fate was sealed when they settled with Intel over real (not "your buttons look like my buttons") technology patent infringements of the Alpha architecture in 1997. They should have forced the withdrawal of all Pentiums. If they had we would have been using 64bit architectures a decade earlier instead of following Intel's max profit roadmap.

As for printing....

Tried shoving my phone into an e-ticket barcode scanner at a football match yesterday...didn't work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

> HP was once a great company.

It still is, apparently. The problem is that the company that used to be known as Hewlett Packard is nowadays called Agilent Technologies.

The bit that kept the HP name and logo just sell (often do not even design or manufacture) shitty consumer electronics stuff. The cool stuff happens elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

"And now their core printing business is soon to be obsolete because no one is printing anything anymore:"

Oh, people are printing - we use massive amounts of paper every year. People simply aren't printing using HP's products; for commercial usage, Lexmark laser printers have been the reference standard for years due to HP decision to design its 'professional business laser' line with smaller, more expensive toner cartridges and lower quality materials. Buy a Lexmark, use it for years with excellent third-party driver support, buy an HP laser and get a product than often lasts no longer than 5 years and pay through the nose every time you must buy that cartridge.

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Re: all self inflicted wounds yet blame other factors

I'm not sure how that recovery is going to happen given that most of these 29000 people designated to go were coming from their Enterprise Services division (predominantly ex EDS), who were the one area who dug the company out of the more last year.

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Every sympathy with These employees...

..but thats what the company gets for siding with the devil called Microsoft

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HP started losing the plot when they decided to be a computer company and sold off the test equipment under the Agilent brand. It's all been pretty much downhill from that point, although sometimes the gradient has been steeper than others. I was later to the party than Neill Miller above, but I still have a Laserjet 4 and Laserjet 5Si - they just keep working, just replace the toner cartridge as needed and occasionally renew the rollers.

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HP Printers.

Have owned a HP L 4 or 5 and still regret chucking it.

However, it was among various working HP and Kyocera lasers rescued from landfill -- to save real estate I tend to chuck em out when the toner expires.

More significantly, I suspect I'm not alone in printing stuff less these days as correspondence is done by text, e-mail or, even, Facebook.

I would chart HP's decline from the first curvy shaped inkjet printers of the 1990s -- a retailer friend had loads of broken ones in his basement, whereas the old square ones used to work well.

Continuing slide can be witnessed by the number of quite new multi-function scanner/inkjets I see dumped. Whether they have failed or the owner is too disgusted by the price of refills, who knows ?

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Paris Hilton

Its odd how everyone always loves the Laserjet 4 and 5si's (Me included), but when it comes to a dot matrix printer I go up to it with a chair and a whip (Paris icon because the control panel fell in on a new dot matris printer, which I then caught and whilst putting it back pressed online, queue the printer trying to eat my hand)

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Anonymous Coward

> HP started losing the plot when they decided to be a computer company and sold off the test equipment under the Agilent brand.

Well, that's how it goes. You know the story: public company CEO, give the specula... shareholders a quick profit, cash in your big bonus, and move on to another company to destroy.

I wish Messieurs Hewlett and Packard had had the foresight of Mr. Robert Bosch whose company, Bosch GmbH is essentially owned by a charity, receiving those profits that have not been reinvested in R&D.

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Well.

It would be nice for the computer manufacturers to think about their users.

Perhaps ALL of the cash they make is with bundled malware? (McAfee, Norton, Bing etc)

Perhaps ALL of their cost centre value goes on shit people don't use or understand (HP security suite / backup suite)

And this goes to all the other manufacturers. FUCK YOU. Acer and Dell currently ship systems with so much shite on them they cannot function without admin rights.

I have had more HP equipment fail than any other vendor. Though their replacement times have been superb. I invoke a care pack 3-4 times a week. Carepacks double the cost of the hardware AT LEAST.

Bosses love them. Bosses are wrong.

Independent builders I have had little issue with. If an issue has reared it’s head, a replacement is STANDARD and in house within 24 hours. Welcome back to the 90’s.

Sorry HP staff. Seriously though, you were too busy writing shit scripts or managing substandard hardware manufacturing.

I wish you well in a post MS world ;)

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Anonymous Coward

I'm a little bit surprised you mention Dell

I don't know if this is the case all over the world but speaking from my own personal experience, I was quite shocked to unpack my shiny new Dell laptop and discover there was no piece of crapware to uninstall. No extra icons, no time-limited free antivirus software, only a trial version of Microsoft Office buried somewhere deep down in the start menus.

As for the post MS world, I wouldn't bet my house on it. The staggering amount of legacy MS Office documents in medium/large organizations makes me skeptical on this matter.

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Byz

Re: I'm a little bit surprised you mention Dell

AC said

"As for the post MS world, I wouldn't bet my house on it. The staggering amount of legacy MS Office documents in medium/large organizations makes me skeptical on this matter."

This is true, however each user thinks they can sort it out and most organisations pay a pittance for IT staff to maintain them :(

Unfortunately the 2000's have seen companies trying to commoditise IT skills by offshoring, paying lower wages, calling us nerds...etc

Also most IT jobs these days tend to be what we used to call "Computer operator" jobs.

What is amazes me is that companies get a real shock when they want someone to write some code for them as they don't realise that to write good code you need skills and experience.

Sure you could get a kid straight out of college (who'll only have learn't Java/python if your lucky) they will be cheap, however it'll be crap and when you need new features it will not be easy as it was not designed for expansion (I've had to pick up a few of these, they are unmaintainable and usually need to be completely rewritten).

Also these days IT departments are run by people who've been on a one week Prince 2 training course (if your lucky) and wouldn't know the difference between a computer and a kid's Vtech toy.

Happy New year :(

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Anonymous Coward

"The "continued market and business pressures" refers to HP's inability to sell more of its products."

That is because the software they bundled with their products is junk, the hardware is junk, their support is junk. There is no compelling reason to buy anything from HP.

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Anonymous Coward

You also forgot to mention

A total lack of any innovative feature or design.

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Not just market pressures

0.1% decline in gross margin requires 34,000 layoffs?

I don't think so. Something else is going on. I suspect there's a lot of dead wood around which needs to be got rid of. Mass lay-offs are a very blunt instrument but are one of the few ways the way the people at the top can actually change anything. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the good people reappear as contractors.

I suspect the tech companies have been divas for too long. IT simply doesn't generate the cost reductions it used to. You wouldn't get a washing-machine company with offices like those. The fat needs to go, not be disguised with profitability from "engineered" service contracts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just market pressures

"0.1% decline in gross margin requires 34,000 layoffs?"

Nope, it doesn't, but HP's situation is more complicated than that. A major part of the problem is that it perceives that it has to grow, and grow in a changing world. It's struggling to adapt in the commercial world, where people are printing less and using tablets and smartphones more; anyone seen an HP tablet 'in the wild'?

Having said that, HP remains a force within the commercial world and in terms of numbers is still a profitable company, typically making $1bn NET a quarter; no solace for the extra 5000 people who will be leaving though...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just market pressures

All that is left is 'Dead Wood'. All the decent people have long deserted their sinking ship or are just holding on until they retire (like me in 5 months)

You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Meg is really the HP Grim Reaper. She will see the death of the company. Can we get MS to take her before it is too late. On second thoughts, it is probably already far too late.

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God I hate that bitch

And for the record. what she's doing is like trying to tax their way into prosperity. While I have no love for HP, it's crap like this that makes me even less inclined to purchase any of their products, for both personal and professional needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: God I hate that bitch

> While I have no love for HP, it's crap like this that makes me even less inclined to purchase any of their products

You're late to the party, but welcome anyway. I've been boycotting the sorry cunts since the HP49 fiasco--those so inclined can find the details on the comp.sys.hp48 archives.

P.S.: Gr! ElReg does not accept the "news:" schema in href URLs. :-(

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What does it have to do with HP as PC manufacturer ? It simply chops off unprofitable parts of EDS also known as HP Enterprise Services, which is consulting business bought in 2008. Not a good news for those laid off but not the end of HP as a company for sure.

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Sad, but inevitable

I worked for a business that had outsourced their IT support to HP (EDS). It was an appalling service; bureaucratic, inflexible and their operators were often unable to fix the most basic problems. They were also forcing people to use badly written scripts, out of date software and insecure practices; it was a nightmare.

The problem is that their sales people make all sorts of promises that senior business managers lap up; "think of the money we can save". But then HP employ the cheapest people that they can find, working to helpdesk scripts without having the required IT knowledge. No wonder that the service they provide is so poor.

I could not in all good conscience ever accept HP as a sensible choice for out sourcing any part of the IT work at any size of business.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad, but inevitable

Outsourcing is a way of replacing technical competence with agreements drawn up by lawyers, and with the funding provided by banks. Right there is the reason it is not a good idea. Lawyers and banks have a function, but once they become involved in "business as usual", there is an associated cost which never goes away. They should only be involved in "one offs" like lawsuits and loans.

HP, G4S, Serco - all companies which are far too big and require complex and expensive contracts to function.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad, but inevitable

Absolutely true - I see it every day, and I am right in the middle of it. Knowledgeable staff leave and are not replaced. Those left are placed under more and more pressure to accomplish much much more with a hell of a lot less. The drones shipped in from offshore know nothing (and usually make matters worse dabbling with stuff they know nothing about). Even worse is that its not even worth trying to train the drones as they don't last more than about a year before leaving.

Senior management don't care (after all they are saving money, right)? But for the end users, quality drops, costs actually go up (though on someone else's bottom line), and the very people actually keeping things running are often tarred with the same brush as the drones because they are lost in the mess that the whole thing descends into.

All in the name of ensuring some senior manager gets himself a golden cock-shake before the organisation implodes......

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@Tony S

I work for CSC and from what I've heard from colleagues who hired into HP (most of whom have left HP), CSC is at least as screwed up, if not a little worse than HP-EDS. Things have gotten even worse, now that they've attempted to commoditze consulting services, software AND hardware. Given the amount of money they've lost in the last 4 or 5 years, I'm actually surprised that they haven't Enron'd the company, yet. If large corporations were smart, they'd consider having their own IT staffs again. Most of us have been Borged by large outsourcers, so we know how to be a lot more efficient and productive, with a lot less.

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hp engineers wandering the streets

I missed out on the last job I went for because a load of HP engineers had just been "released into the community" from the depo next door :(

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Flame

HP SCanner software

If HP could develop some scanner software that didnt continually say "Scanner not found" and maybe gave you some choice of the filetype and location of the output I'm sure theyd sell a few more

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Re: HP SCanner software

Sadly, I don't think any of the scanner manufacturers serve home users very well. Seems to be, at best, a marginal product, doubtless shrinking. Models from minor brands seemed to lack any manufacturer support.

I've had several home and semi-pro Epsons and the older ones seem well made -- but support could have been better. Lacking an original CD, finding the right software seemed to draw a blank on the UK site. In the end after trying all English language Epson sites, got what I needed on the Canadian one.

Epson software seems to do the job in terms of previewing the image, choosing resolution, threshold etc.

Not so impressed with the two HP and one Canon models I tried -- I found the preview function didn't have enough detail for one to reliably select the area to be scanned.

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Re: HP SCanner software

If the scanner is supported by Sane then chances are it can be done under Linux. In some ways, having limited support from manufacturers has resulted in a much more consistent interface across a wide range of scanners, simply because all the effort can go into reverse-engineering the drivers to just plug in to the existing applications.

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@Fihart Re: HP SCanner software

I had exactly that with Canon on Mac OS X, although I had to go to the US canon site ... and this was some 7 or 8 years ago, and my memory is flakey ... I remember going through quite some shit to stay on the US site, because it kept trying to tell me the Dutch site was what I needed....

The driver came with a 16 bit bitmap doc icon, seriously, on Mac OS X! It was a mess every time I upgraded OS X ... I finally hooked it up to my Linux box and used that. Plug and play. Never tested that shit on Windows, but doubt it worked any better with Vista (I know there were no drivers when Vista came out) - it eventually died due to a power surge ... <verifiable>I think the model was ld45</verifiable>.

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Anonymous Coward

They need to be in the mobile and tablet market, so why aren't they?

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Anonymous Coward

HP aren't in the mobile market because they are still trying to figure out how to make money from it...

HP are in the tablet market; the ElitePads running proper Win8 are actually a pretty good proposition for the commercial market and in the home market their website lists 10 tablets. Problem is these are fairly generic Android devices which lack innovation and, anecdotally at least, don't sell well. I've yet to see an HP tablet 'in the wild'.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't call the Windows 8 tablets a "tablet" in the general sense.

A tablet computer to me should be a low cost device with an OS designed for mobile. In the case of Windows 8 it is a hybrid desktop/tablet OS on an expensive device.

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re: They need to be in the mobile and tablet market

Because their salesforce know how to make corporate sales, corporate sales are easy.

If some bank wanted 10,000s identical tablets with an ongoing service contract and consultancy HP would be all over it.

Need to make an innovative mobile product for a discerning yoof audience? That's trickier - so what you do is buy an innovative dynamic company and then roll it into HP - and let the enterpise sales people run it.

When this fails - just repeat with another company.

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"I don't call the Windows 8 tablets a "tablet" in the general sense.

A tablet computer to me should be a low cost device with an OS designed for mobile. In the case of Windows 8 it is a hybrid desktop/tablet OS on an expensive device."

You should look at devices like the Dell Venue Pro 8. Fairly cheap - but with a fully featured Windows 8.1 OS specifically designed for tablets that can run a proper version of Office...

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Rol
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Business as usual

The management fail to do their job properly and the workers, through no fault of their own, pay for it.

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