back to article HP may NOT spin off PC biz

In another world, Mark Hurd is getting out of the shower amid a haze of steam as CEO of HP – the sex pest claims were never made and he is still at the helm of the tech titan. Such is the fanciful turn of events at HP over the last 13-and-a-bit months, starting with a disgraced Hurd being cleared of sexual harassment but …


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  1. a_been

    If someone gave these guys a clue, would they know what they had?


  2. Solomon Grundy

    No Shit

    Selling off the PC business idea wasn't well thought out. HP is and always will be a printer and PC manufacturing company. To attempt to be something else is just stupid. Fire Leo and pick someone at random to manage the company. It'll do better than it is now.

    1. L.B

      Well he got the boot today.

      He probably still got a few million bucks for the last 11 months of complete screw-ups.

      I'm sure had they employed some crack head junky, HP would be better off than they are today. For a start they would not have had to pay them a small fortune for being a complete failure.

  3. Michael Hawkes

    After shooting itself in the foot...

    the HP board is now busy reloading.

    WTF happened to HP? It used to be a decent & respectable tech company founded by some of the pioneers of Silicon Valley. The past few years it's been one fucking drama after another. What happened?

    Meh - because I'm a fan of HP printers and RPN calculators, but not their computers.

    1. MD Rackham

      WTF happened?

      Carly happened. That's what.

      She took a company which prided itself on the way it treated its employees and pillaged it through layoffs, benefit cuts, and morale-destroying "pep talks." The short-term increase in profit was cheered by Wall Street and she was considered a genius.

      But after those gains were used up, she never could come up with anything else, thus becoming paranoid enough to bug her board of directors.

      HP will never recover, but slowly drift downwards. It's an engineering company taken over by bean counters. They'll die the same way DEC did, one spin-off at a time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What happened to HP?

      As far as I can assertain the rot started to set in when Carly F was made CEO back in the late 90's. Since then things a simply gone from bad to worse. The current Board is populated by a bunch of money-grubbing, cynical and hypocritical no-marks. Their main goal is to make sure they get ever increasingly obscene payouts each year (one year a certain Ann Livermore trousered in excess of $26M) - and everyone in HP knows she is a useful as a chocolate teapot.

      To fund their greed they spend most of their time figuring out how they can screw the hardworking workforce by refusing pay increases (I have not had one for 6 years), finessing the figures so that bonus are not paid, cutting back on expenses (lunch is no longer claimable when away on HP business), reducing benefits, frigging around with pension contributions (it won't be worth bugger all in a few years time) and any other scheme they can think of.

      Morale at HP has gone beyond rock-bottom and as a result most employees do the minimun required, just sufficient to avoid a bollocking. Why bother when no matter what you do you will not get a pay rise - even if you are promoted. If you complain (like I did) you get a below-average rating on your next performance review, no matter that you did an even better job that year.

      Now to cap it all the CEO and the Board have made us the laughing stock of the industry. I feel embarassed to tell anyone I work for HP. Roll on redundancy - PLEASE.

      1. Man Mountain

        Grow a pair!!

        Man, you are a bitter and deluded sod! Everyone assumes that the grass is greener and locves to bitch about their current employer but I joined HP a few years ago because my previous employer (IBM) was years ahead of HP in terms of this apparent 'screwing employees over'. Payrises are hard to come by anywhere in the industry now. Expenses are tightening up everywhere ... IBM make you pay for your own mobile phone and never let you claim meals unless you were entertaining. HP do (so not sure why you think otherwise) as long as you are away from home / the office all day. But on that point, why should you get lunch paid for if you're at meetings in London or wherever? Would you not have had lunch if you were in the office. Benefits have reduced everywhere. And HP seem very good on paying commission compared to my previous experiences. Oh, and the morale comment ... don't get that at all. I've found it strange how I read all this stuff in the press and we do look shambolic to the outside world, but on the inside it still feels good. I suspect that you are from an older generation who had it very easy for a number of years, creaming it working in IT, and now after a hard dose of reality you spend your days moaning how it's not like it used to be! Well wake up and smell the coffee douche bag!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Old, bitter, deluded, douche bag sod replies...

          Ahem, I already have a pair. I'm not really sure what a " douche bag" is, but I suspect you use it in the context of an insult. Oh, dear I am so hurt.

          I know "expenses are tightening up everywhere", as you so eloquently put it but HP has taken it to a new level. I used to be an HP "home worker" and HP contributed to the expenses I incurred working at home for HP's benefit - not a lot of money but it least it was something. To save money HP re-classified me as a "mobile worker" this means I no longer get any compensation for working from home. To put the cherry on the cake they then stopped paying for my broadband connection, although they still expect me to use it for HP business purposes. This is just one example of how HP is screwing me.

          You assume I am paid commission - I am a consultant and get paid a salary only. I deliver a service, I don't flog stuff.

          You say " I suspect that you are from an older generation who had it very easy for a number of years, creaming it working in IT..." - wrong again, although I left school a fair time ago, unlike you who probably left last week, judging by the schoolboy language.

          BTW - how does a "douche bag" smell coffee?

          1. Man Mountain

            Proof of being a douche, if ever it was needed

            Only a true douche would try and pick an insult apart by arguing that a douche bag can't smell coffee. Brilliant! As for leaving school last week, I've worked in IT since 1995 so I'd say I was somewhere in the middle, but long enough to have seen both sides. And I'm not sure if you have ever worked elsewhere, but HP really haven't taken it to a 'new level' in terms of tightening up expenses. I remember the £25 a month allowance for broadband, and we all made some money on that as it was more than broadband cost. And yeah, they have stopped paying for it now - but when HP were providing your broadband, did you have a separate account for personal use? I'd suspect not in which case you were benefitting from HP providing broadband. And in this day and age, if work didn't provide you broadband you would buy it anyway. It's like arguing that HP should pay your water bill because you make a cup of tea when you're working from home! IBM tried to put a limit on mobile phone bills at one stage! Yes I'm a salesman but they still tried to cap phone bills! Tell me how that makes sense. And you have to buy your own mobile phones now! And they were always a hell of a lot tighter on entertaining and incidental expenses. I suggest if you're that unhappy you move elsewhere. To be honest, you do need to grow a pair if you are this unhappy but sitting there and taking it. Alternatively I suggest you open your eyes and realise that this is the world we now live in. You're moaning that you don't get your broadband paid, yet plenty of people would be delighted to have your job! You need a good dose of perspective.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Who appoints the board ? Shareholders. Alas, they are represented by large investment funds, who's personnel get taken out for nice lunches.

    The board needs replacing, then the CEO. Then HP can focus on what it's good at - advanced Calculators and great test equipment.

    1. chairman_of_the_bored

      Test equipment?

      Already dumped - spun off as Agilent years ago...

    2. paulf Silver badge

      <cough> Agilent <cough>

      Test Equipment?

      The company you are looking for is

      Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard Company, broke records on Nov. 18, 1999 as the largest initial public offering (IPO) in Silicon Valley history...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agilent is now an IBM customer

        Look it up they not only were spun off by HP but they ended up dumping HP technology for IBM Power systems.

  5. xperroni

    Is this the International Year of The Corporate Cock-up or something?

    First Nokia sent their entire OS R&D operation down the toilet to hook up to Windows, then Google paid the bucks or the husk of Motorola, and now HP stumbles about as if hit in the head with an iron pole... Has the IT industry decided to take the year off and compete on who comes up with the worst blunder?

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      "Microsoft to axe desktop Windows and Office

      in favour of more fecking fluffy clouds"

      You heard it here first.

    2. RTNavy

      Short Term Goals

      Everyone has become obsessed with the short term profits and today's stock prices instead of looking out for the long term business plan and company viability.

      It seems that panic has taken over in business administration instead of building solid, long term plans and goals then sticking to them through the lean times.

    3. jonathan1

      The Google thing is about patents more than anything else time will tell. But i agree, its been a wierd year. I suppose large organisations like empires, will eventually start to fail due to decadence and complacency.

      1. xperroni

        I agree to the "time will tell" part, anyway.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its just the ways things are going in the capitalist west - it is accepted that corporate bosses get multi-million £ payouts regardless of competence or results, and if they are so useless that they must go, then they get to step down with a golden handshake and enhanced pension package.

      To fund this daylight robbery they have to squeeze increasing amounts of 'profit' out of the businesses in their charge - and when sale do not suffice then the only way to free up cash is cutting costs - first of which is jobs.

      Of course, the shedding of jobs has the knock-on effect of placing large numbers of people into financial positions where they can no longer afford to buy their ex-employers produce, only exaperating (albeit to a minute degree) the initial problem.

  6. Peter Gordon

    "No such reprieve will be given to the webOS hardware unit"

    Can you really say anything with such conviction?

    Who knows what they'll do. Hell, maybe they'll try and resurrect PalmOS. HP's behaviour since hiring Leo is so bizarre, anything is possible.

    It makes me wonder if Leo was on Dell's payroll all along, and if he arrived in a giant wooden horse...

  7. chairman_of_the_bored

    HP: Proudly...

    ...destroying shareholder value since 1996

    I notice the share price is back to where it was 15 years ago. The only good news is that I don't have any!

    Some turkey. Some Christmas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Much as I hate to defend HP right now, they did have at least one stock split during that time. So, technically, the share price is back to double what it was 15 years ago.

  8. Lars

    When the head is rotten the body will suffer.

  9. Lorddraco

    Great disappointment

    This the worst decision making processes one after another.

    How can one eliminate a still profitable although thin margin business and which still take up more than 30% of a company business overnight?

    This is madness.... and a wrong decision to kill a product slightly after it launches? Lots of wrong decision and strategy IMHO.

    Touchpad launch at a wrong price . Same price as ipad (no 3G) ?? Crazy ...

    Plus .. tons of internal staff (including executive) is using ipad, iphone instead of eating own dog food. Try find a iphone user working in google, an android user in apple or iphone/android in Microsoft???

    How can consumer believe to buy when internal staff is not using own product?

    Industry leader more and more becoming an industry follower .. an utter complete disappointment.

  10. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Hurd the target?

    I have a sneaky suspicion this was all just a vindictive attempt to drive down the shareprice so Hurd gets les money for the options he still had from his time at hp.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      Matt is not so defensive about HP and cracking jokes on something other than sunshiners. The world is coming to an end.

  11. Alain

    Desperate HP Employees, season X episode Y

    This is beginning to look like episodes of my favourite TV series.

    It would really be fun if it weren't tragic for HP employees to be aboard a boat with different people trying to turn the wheel in different directions and which obviously has started to sink already. I *really*, *really* wouldn't like to be working for HP these days...

    On the other hand, if they kick Apotheker out and put people at the wheel who might have a clue, that could possibly be the light at the end of the tunnel. I do hope that Ellison's wraith will start easing up and that the death sentence against the Itanium might be reconsidered (especially since we've bought some of these beasts).

    Staying tuned for the next episode...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect

    What do you expect from a company that did the mess of borging COMPAQ with leaked information due to melisa virus(sic - script).

    You run a buisiness thru actions and not down the line were the brain is thinking and labeling that action.

    Now on the flip side by announcing they might be pulling out of the PC market they may very well of secured some nice component deals and other deals with companies which they might not of done so well on in the negotiations given its always nice to go to a negotiation with the `well whatever, not like we care` approach. BUT if that is the case then i'd have to call that market manipulation and indeed the share-holders seem to feel somewhat manipulated by this whole process.

    If yahoo and HP were to swap managment they both respectivly had say ew 4 months ago then HP would of got the better deal IMHO and I didn't think much of yahoo's managment. As for HP's managment - well they fly there company as well as a terroist lands a plane, but with the terroist at least they know there goona crash, unlike HP's managment. (too soon for that joke - vote now).

    I'm not sure why alot of companies seem to have OCD mentalities to products, but it certainly wont help there RnD and will eventual limit consumer choices. Either way IBM must be laughing there socks off given 20 years ago they were the evil incompetent and now every other company has stolen every single negative crown they had, leaving IBM just laughing.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gerald Ratner

    ..... would do a better job!

  14. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    well ok

    I might do the job, and would even take pay cut as a CEO to something less outrageous than current norm.

    Headhunters know how to reach me already. .

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean ....

    Does this mean that I needn't have returned the HP Touchpad my daughter bought me and got a Xoom instead?

  16. Torben Mogensen


    I think HP is trying to rewind all the major decisions made by Apotheker so a new CEO can make better decisions. The message seems to be "Forget what we said and did in the last year and listen to what we say and do from now on".

    Probably not a bad move, but a lot of damage has already been done.

    Being a CEO is a real treat: If the company goes well (no matter if it is to your credit or not), you get a huge bonus, and if you fuck up the company so badly that they fire you, you get an even huger severance pay. Basically, there is no way you can lose.

    1. Steve Knox
      Thumb Down

      Bad idea

      Rewinding this way (before hiring a new CEO) is a very bad idea. It basically tells your prospects that they will have no real power. This in turn makes it almost impossible to get an actually good person in as CEO.

      This also makes the company look confused, eroding shareholder confidence and turning what was likely to be a minor dip into a nosedive.

      If you do want to rewind, better to ask prospective marks^H^H^H^HCEOs questions that will ensure that you can choose a new head will do it for you.

  17. JohnG

    It might be interesting to know what sales and purchases of HP shares have been transacted by HP directors in the last 6 months.

    1. 100113.1537

      Highly appropriate..

      Tanking your share price prior to things like share buy-backs (or screwing someone's option pay-out as suggested above) is illegal and a very good way to get shareholders to sue, but would have been hard to prove were it not for the monumentally inept way they have behaved recently.

      If they tried a buy-back now, they would be screwed so hard by pissed off shareholders that I guess they will just have to suck it up and keep on going.

      It gives a new CEO a great chance to earn his bonus by getting the share price to increase - even if it is still less than it was a few months ago.

      I still say they should have kept Carly..

      (ducks quickly)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meg Whitman?

    Surely someone is jesting. HP has problems that are far different than those at the tat bazaar, and is a far different business too. Indeed the tat bazaar was a money machine of which only HPs printer division can compare. Can I naked short her tenure if she is anointed the next chief martyr officer of HP?

  19. Bad Beaver

    This is madness – THIS IS HP!

    So they noticed it was kind of a bad idea, huh? Like, bad, huh? Damn… did anyone tell them to go &%!$* themselves lately? It sure seems appropriate.

    Btw, buy a Nokia while they still run Symbian, those thingies are pretty nice.

  20. QrazyQat

    Given that we've learned that the SEC is corrupt, has anyone been watching the board and higher ups at HP in terms of what they're doing -- buying and selling, shorting, etc. -- with HP's stock?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The longer you leave it the more it hurts

    I worked for a smaller US company that got a new chairman shortly followed by a fuckwit new CEO. He had some Leo-style ideas about improving the company by dispensing with the most profitable bits. It took them 8 years to bite the bullet and promote the CEO out of the way, by which time the stock had fallen 65% (yep, they still haven't fired him, even now).

    HP's board should act before Leo does any more damage.

  22. Adam White

    "not as well thought through as initially believed"

    So they somehow put less than zero thought into it?

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