Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reading the signals

So, in the last couple of weeks, HP has had three more announcements
1. Suing Oracle (and Hurd) again
2. Restructuring the Management Council, Executive team, and Board a bit
3. Rolling out TouchPad

Press reports to the next phase of the lawsuit, brought re Ellison bashing HP computers and in particular Intel's Itanium, seems fruitless in many circles. The really big news here might actually have been Oracle's quarterly report, where they were forced to report that their Sun computing arm had revenues shrink again, to about half of where they were a mere two years ago. This is a dead, dead line, with no chance at Oracle of keeping the inventive genii who kept Sun alive for so long. So Ellison is spending his time bashing HP, seeding doubt and fear as much as possible, and generally acting like ... well, like Larry

Apotheker continues, in a deliberate way it would appear, to put his stamp on things at HP. He moved Ann Livermore, the embattled, thrice-passed over Chieftain of HP services, out of the company and onto the Board. Ann, much-loved and disappointed once again in a goal to become CEO, has run services for a very long time. There is a truism that you can outstay your enthusiasm and creativity -- might be true here. He also elevated Steve DeWitt into PSG leadership, sending Tood Bradley to China. This is terrific news for innovation at HP, and could also be positive re opening China further. Bradley, a hard-charging exec with many of Hurd's better qualities, will be an interesting international player; DeWitt's chops are all about innovation, which can only be cheered from every vantage point.

"FINALLY" rolling out TouchPad, HP's belated version of the i-Pad. Recall that Steve Ballmer showed HP i-Slate at CES in January 2010, three months in front of the first i-Pad release. With a Microsoft OS base, and Intel chips (never competitive at cellphone architecture or battery-powered apps), and an outsourced foreign developer, this product was screwed from the get-go. And then HP, via Phil McKinney, had a chance to buy a distressed Palm Pre with its innovative next-gen operating system, WebOS. This was also a chance to snare Jon Rubenstein, a legendary designer with innumerable successes under his belt.

The Palm Pre failed because the cash-strapped company couldn't match Apple's gigantic Apps Store for the i-Phone, not for lack of product. Rubenstein knows Apple, leading the team for the original i-Pod, for example. He also knows HP, having led the first HP programmable computer years ago.

See todays San Jose Merc article with Steve DeWitt. HOPE that innovation is back!

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