Friday, August 19, 2011

blockbuster news?

Page 351 (and again on p. 503) of THE HP PHENOMENON has Packard's famous quote: "The only thing worse than a little shitty business is a big shitty business". His ghost doubtless jumped for glee yesterday.

The early morning San Jose Merc story said "HP has sold 25,000 TouchPads; Best Buy has 270,000 in inventory". Somewhat different than Apple stores with queuing customers for each new breathlessly awaited release of (your choice -- an i-Phone, an i-Pad, even a new Mac).

The mid-afternoon story was somber -- the TouchPad, the WebOS, and the Palm Pre are gonzo. And HP plans to (HOPES TO) abandon the PC business. Some bloggers said "Jeez, this guy Apotheker is killing the place" while others cheered and said, "This guy Apotheker just might save the place"

A fascinating week, juxtaposing the Google acquisition of Motorola's capsized phone business with HP's highly visible faux pas.

Consider -- Jobs now "walks on water, brings his own water with him." But for the first eight years after he returned to Apple, the headlines, analysts, and pundits all panned him. It wasn't until the third round of the i-Pod, circa 2005, that the headlines started being positive. And then for the i-Phone, Dvorak was merciless, and Ballmer beyond rude for early 2007. When sales 'tanked' a year later, everyone said "SEE" And for the i-Pad even, the erstwhile competitors (did we say Ballmer and HP combined this time?) all pee'd all over it -- "it'll be a failure like the Newton, no one really wants ... " Now he's viewed as this idiot-savant genius who can do no wrong. Some might say, "jeez, all he did was insist on CONTRIBUTION for customers, and insist on great innovative engineering" What a concept!

Little known fact -- the Mac (yes, they still make 'em) has gained unit sales of 28% per year for the last nine years, very profitably, in the 'dog-eat-dog' personal computer space. Hummn. This has been the annuity profit generator for Apple. This is a "mere" 15 million Macs per year today (everyone said the i-Pad would cannibalize it, but it has given a "halo effect" instead).

The i-Phone killed both Nokia and Motorola phones (there is a huge story here about how to go from the highest unit volume single electronics product -- the Razr -- in world history to virtual bankruptcy in six months, for one of the most iconic electronics companies in history).

And the i-Pad killed not just the TouchPad, but all of HP computing (a $40 billion business for which kings and queens fought and died) in one month of head-to-head. Whew!

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