Friday, August 19, 2011

end of an era

The PC business for HP has beeen bookmarked by Apple. And "TOUCH"

HP, despite what the Computer History Museum august visitors think, invented and sold the first successful Personal Computer -- the HP 9100A, eight years before Ed Roberts did the Altair. And in the Computer History Museum timeline itself, Ed says "Jeez, the Intel Intellec I was a PC, and they just didn't recognize it." He is right, of course -- the Intellec I, which was a development systme for designers to write code to program their new microprocessors, was built by a team inspired by the HP 9100A, including Bill Davidow who moved from being one of HP's first three PC salemen to Intel. DUHHH...

And Wozniak, working at HP, proposed the "Apple 1" to them, but was ignored -- actually he was given permission to do it without HP interference -- about the time that Ed Roberts had his seance in New Mexico and met a kid named Gates.

It took another eight years for HP to "wake up" and decide to compete -- with the vaunted TOUCH-SCREEN, a machine with a TV ad of a Monarch Butterfly flitting onto the screen and causing magic things to happen. The Ad preview was screened for the HP Executive leadership in Napa at the tony Silverado Country Club the morning after the Apple Hammer-throwing ad ran for the first and only time at the 1984 Super Bowl.

HP execs were told confidently by our McKinsey advertising and marketing team that we'd go from 2% of a modest PC-world to 21% in a year with our machine and their help. This, bear in mind, is a year after the IBM PC was on the cover of TIME magazine as the MAN OF THE YEAR. And this team blithely wrote off Apple, whose Apple III (done by ex-HPites) and the LISA (done by ex-HPites) failed.

When the numbers were in a year later, the Mac sold 200,000 machines (only half of Steve Jobs' prediction, which fueled his unplanned departure from Apple), and HP's expensive, slow, unreliable, impractical TOUCH-SCREEN sold 40,000 -- not exactly hitting the 21% market share number. So the first head-to-head failed, pretty hard.

The second? HP announced the TouchPad in January 2010, but concluded it didn't work by April. Apple announced its i-Pad in January 2010, delivered in July, and sold one and a half million the first month, fifteen million the first nine months. Business Week reported that HP had to buy Palm and WebOS because they had outsourced R*D to Asia (gawd) and HP confidently said, "the TouchPad will be the businessman's indispensible tool" HP built 500,000 for the initial launch a year after the i-Pad launch (and four months after the SECOND i-Pad launch. Best Buy, the biggest electronics super store on the planet (but not exactly an enterprise supplier) took 300,000 units initially, and returned 270,000 yesterday.

So -- Touchpoint -- don't name your product "Touch..." and don't go up against Apple?

1 comment:

chuck said...

for some reason, I cannot edit this, so I'll append. The i-Pad was intro'd in April 2010, the 2nd i-Pad in March 2011. HP "pulled" the first TouchPad (called i-Slate) in March 2010, though it was supposed to intro in June. The TouchPad, intro'd Feb 9, 2011, became available July 1, 2011, and unavailable (forever) August 17, 2011.