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HP Spinning Off WebOS and Exiting Hardware Business

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the there-can-be-only-one dept.

HP 514

A number of readers submitted rumors about some announcements HP was set to make today. Now, the announcements have actually happened, and the news looks grim. For starters, they are exiting the tablet and phone market and repositioning webOS for use in appliances and vehicles. While confirming they are in talks to acquire Autonomy, they also announced they are considering exiting the PC hardware business entirely in order to focus on their software business.

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Audio webcast link (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#37134016)

www.hp.com/investor/2011q3webcast

Re:Audio webcast link (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#37134518)

Why in the hell would they want to exit the hardware business?
Their PCs, laptops, and servers are the "mid-range" that I always get because Dell is cheap, but I can show how shitty they are and IBM/Lenovo is the best but too expensive to justify the cost.
Of course I always reinstall the OS because of all the crap they throw on it. But really you have to do that for all of them.

Re:Audio webcast link (4, Informative)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 2 years ago | (#37134630)

Profit margins in the PC hardware business are razor-thin, and not likely to improve. So while their PC business does generate a large percentage of their revenue, it is a much smaller percentage of their profits.

Low margins (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#37134684)

You have to work really hard for that PC dollar. In desktop PCs Microsoft makes several times the profit dollars per unit than HP or Lenovo does. Lenovo's crowing about "huge" $100M profits on $5B sales right now- about 2 percent. That's a lot of work and risk for $100M profit to be a good thing. You could blow $100M just by, say, building an initial run of half a million tablets that don't sell.

They've been practicing (2)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 2 years ago | (#37134048)

Judging by the amount of bloat-ware that's been coming with HP computers for the past several years, it would seem they've been practicing for this very moment.

Re:They've been practicing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134388)

Judging by the amount of bloat-ware that's been coming with HP computers for the past several years, it would seem they've been practicing for this very moment.

My hp laptop overheated and they will not do anything to help. they have had other models do this as well but they had to pay something to them due to lawsuits. I spent way too much money a few years ago to have the computer overheat and stop working. So I was not going to buy anything else HP ever again as the service was not good at all.
Marion

Re:They've been practicing (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#37134424)

Yup, they fucked me over with the nVidia meltdown issue they refuse to do anything about. An $800 notebook down the fucking tubes and just two years old.

Re:They've been practicing (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 2 years ago | (#37134470)

Judging by the amount of bloat-ware that's been coming with HP computers for the past several years, it would seem they've been practicing for this very moment.

My hp laptop overheated and they will not do anything to help. they have had other models do this as well but they had to pay something to them due to lawsuits. I spent way too much money a few years ago to have the computer overheat and stop working. So I was not going to buy anything else HP ever again as the service was not good at all. Marion

Was that due to a defective junk series nVidia chipset? Geforce Go 6150? 7200?

Re:They've been practicing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134448)

Why do you think they acquired EDS? It wasn't for the sparkling personalities working within

Out of the PC market? Good Riddance! (2)

xtracto (837672) | about 2 years ago | (#37134516)

HP has been one of the worst PC manufacturers [squaretrade.com] in the last 10 years (if not more). I have had a very low view of their PCs since the time they started selling thsose small towers with everything cramped in (about 10 years ago).

Re:Out of the PC market? Good Riddance! (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 2 years ago | (#37134664)

Their workstation-class machines have been (and still are) fairly reasonable as off-the-rack systems go. Their servers are good too (though overpriced).

Re:They've been practicing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134546)

Oh no, apparently their previous software delivered WAY too much functionality for its price... they're bringing Autonomy on to help them fix that.

Re:They've been practicing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134828)

Well, the bloatware comes from their software business, which is now their core business.

Figures (4, Interesting)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | about 2 years ago | (#37134082)

"According to one source who has seen internal HP reports, Best Buy has taken delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has so far managed to sell only 25,000, or less than 10 percent of the units in its inventory."

http://allthingsd.com/20110816/ouchpad-best-buy-sitting-on-a-pile-of-unsold-hp-tablets/ [allthingsd.com]

Re:Figures (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#37134260)

Good. Maybe the remainder will be blown out at clearance prices; the hardware is still good, and I'm sure someone will figure out a way to load Android on these things.

Re:Figures (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#37134274)

The TouchPad has only been on sale for over a month. It doesn't really have many apps. Did they really expect it to sell out? I really like to know what their expectations were. It seems pulling the plug after such a short time suggests they didn't think it was going take a while to make traction against Apple's iPad.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134538)

I don't think they expected to sell out, but 25k is a pathetically small number for a tablet at launch. Every other tablet released by a major manufacturer has sold more than that in its first day. Trying to push yet another OS into the tablet space was a terrible idea.

Even worse than that (1)

jamrock (863246) | about 2 years ago | (#37134312)

That 25,000 sales figure doesn't include customer returns for refunds, which anecdotally have been startlingly high. The TouchPad has been an unmitigated disaster for HP, and apparently Best Buy is extremely unhappy with the situation, demanding that HP take back unsold inventory.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134606)

Quick, somebody start hacking these things so we have a good source of cheap LCD displays for hobby projects in the future.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134712)

Hopefully woot will blow some out for $100!

Dumping WebOS makes me wonder.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134098)

....what RIM stock is selling for today?

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134108)

Ok I RTFA, and I see nowhere in it that they are "considering exiting the PC hardware business." Very misinformative. They are exiting the tablet hardware market, but they're still king in the PC market.

Re:What? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#37134152)

HP also reported that it plans to announce that its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG). HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110818006301/en/HP-Confirms-Discussions-Autonomy-Corporation-plc-Business [businesswire.com]

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134758)

That's not an exit though.

Re:What? (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | about 2 years ago | (#37134160)

I thought this as well. Why on earth would you stop doing something that, according to TFA, counts as 1/3 of your revenue.

Low margins (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#37134204)

Same reason IBM did it. Lenovo is crowing now about a huge bump in profits - something like $100M on $5B, or 2 percent.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | about 2 years ago | (#37134418)

for the same reason Carly fired almost all of R&D, sold the itanium engineers to Intel, and considered getting out the printer market, despite those sales being the majority of their revenue: greed, short-sightedness, selfishness, and the desire to be seen in the news.

Re:What? (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | about 2 years ago | (#37134194)

I see nowhere in it that they are "considering exiting the PC hardware business."

HP says:

"HP also reported that it plans to announce that its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG). HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction."

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110818006301/en/HP-Confirms-Discussions-Autonomy-Corporation-plc-Business [businesswire.com]

Re:What? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#37134206)

apple makes most of the money in the PC market. HP and dell mostly sell the cheap no profit machines.

the original plan was to sell a variety of models with the low end models being loss leaders for the more expensive ones. but Apple stole the more expensive market and left the loss leader market to dell/hp.

Re:What? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#37134658)

apple makes most of the money in the PC market. HP and dell mostly sell the cheap no profit machines.

Which would you rather have? $100 each from one thousand people, or $1 each from one million people?

HP should have got on board w/ android (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 2 years ago | (#37134132)

Looking at their WebOS powered tablet at BestBuy next to the iPad2 and android units like the Galaxy Tab, all I can think is WTF, HP?
But thanks for buying my Palm shares.

Why? (1)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#37134406)

There are already several companies selling Android tablets. What would HP have to bring to the table, that they don't? At least with WebOS they had an opportunity to do something different and better. My take is that they either should have committed more to WebOS or not bothered with "smartphone" tablet at all.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134806)

There are already several companies selling Android tablets.

That's why. WebOS would be what? The fourth biggest tablet OS, at best. What's the market share of the fourth biggest desktop OS? Android is certainly in the top three and has a good chance of nabbing the number one spot. You're better off being the fourth biggest manufacturer of tablets for the top tablet OS than the top manufacturer of tablets for the fourth biggest OS.

Re:HP should have got on board w/ android (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134472)

Android is for people who can't afford real smartphones or tablets. You guys make me laugh with all of this talk about Android. It has peaked and those in the know have accepted this.

Sad, sad, sad. (4, Insightful)

jamrock (863246) | about 2 years ago | (#37134142)

I hope that HP will somehow weather the turbulence and emerge stronger than ever. This is the company that built Silicon Valley and for decades was the benchmark for tech innovation, and it's so painful to watch them floundering like this. And I'm especially saddened that WebOS never really had a chance to strut it's stuff. I'm a very happy iPad owner, but I have the greatest respect and admiration for what the Palm team accomplished with WebOS's interface, and I was hoping that it would take off and keep Apple on their toes.

I personally blame Carly Fiorina for the travails of a once-proud company.

Re:Sad, sad, sad. (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#37134256)

I hope that HP will somehow weather the turbulence and emerge stronger than ever.

Interesting article from Business Insider [businessinsider.com] saying that becoming software only company riskier, but more lucrative. Also, next step is to buy RIM?

Re:Sad, sad, sad. (3, Interesting)

jamrock (863246) | about 2 years ago | (#37134502)

That's an insightful observation, and of course the best example that HP could hope to emulate is IBM's brilliantly successful transformation from a hardware to a service solutions company under the superb leadership of Louis Gerstner.

But why on earth would they even consider getting into bed with RIM? RIM's problems stem directly from their bizarre Frankenstein's monster leadership (2 CEO's and 3 COO's? Seriously??), and management appears to be in serious denial about the nature of their competition. Plus it seems as if the board doesn't see anything wrong with how the company is being led, so don't expect the situation there to change anytime soon.

Re:Sad, sad, sad. (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#37134508)

I personally blame Carly Fiorina for the travails of a once-proud company.

Yep. Although, Lew Platt gave her a good running start. But she (and Itanic) really finished it off.

Agilent (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134548)

This is the company that built Silicon Valley and for decades was the benchmark for tech innovation, and it's so painful to watch them floundering like this.

No, that was Agilent, the test and measurement company.

We're talking about HP, the Printer/Business Services/Bottom-barrel PC company. Totally different.

Re:Agilent (1)

mallyn (136041) | about 2 years ago | (#37134730)

Thanks:

I was going to suggest the same thing, but I forgot the Agilent name

I am curious, when HP and Agilent split, did all of the real engineer end up migrating to Agilent?

Re:Sad, sad, sad. (2)

shipofgold (911683) | about 2 years ago | (#37134566)

I agree that they were a once proud company. I interviewed with them in 1981, when they were regarded as one of the best places to work. But I think they took their eye off the ball and started screwing their customers with shoddy products that they wouldn't even support. I had the misfortune of purchasing one of their DV9000 laptops...with the overheating left hinge problem which freezes and then cracks the case when you try to open it. Typical design problem that HP knew about pretty early in the game...lots of frustruation with them and CompUSA (their authorized service center) trying to get a repair out of them....even during the warrenty period when they told me it was because I dropped the laptop. When it happened a second time 4 years after I bought the laptop, I called HP customer support, and was told they have dropped all support for that product...can't even order the parts. Together with other stories of non-support to their consumer grade customers, I think they are gettting what they deserve.

A shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134144)

I really liked my Palm Pre. I would have replaced it if HP had released a comparible replacement, but the Pre 3 still isn't out and I had to get an android phone. My new phone has more apps, a better browser and better hardware, but I still think WebOS's multitasking paradigm was better.

Re:A shame (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#37134368)

I really liked my Palm Pre. I would have replaced it if HP had released a comparible replacement, but the Pre 3 still isn't out and I had to get an android phone. My new phone has more apps, a better browser and better hardware, but I still think WebOS's multitasking paradigm was better.

I was really looking forward to the Pre3, I was thinking about moving from my Droid-1 to the Pre3 when it comes out, but I guess now I'll have to hold onto the Droid a little longer and see what comes out of the Google-Motorola deal.

Divesting itself of its PC business? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134170)

Looks to me like HP would be better off divesting itself of its CEO.

HP becomes Palm? (4, Interesting)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#37134174)

So HP is jettisoning all of the things that made it HP two years ago and just focusing on the stuff they got when they bought Palm? Does this sound like they are trying to blow up the company to anyone else?

Re:HP becomes Palm? (3, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 years ago | (#37134308)

Sounds more like they're trying to stop competing with Dell and start competing with IBM, reversing a Fiorina era trend.

Re:HP becomes Palm? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#37134332)

Someone is just trying to finish the job that Fiorina started. I'm upset by this. I LIKE Hewlett Packard hardware. It's generally of good quality (you get occasional duds like with anything else, though) and you pretty much know what you're getting. I like having every single driver for every single computer ever made indexed on their website; it's saved my ass a few times over the years. Other companies are so hit and miss (either it's great and will last 10 years with a Dell, or its going to die in the first year) that some time ago I just switched to HP for everything since it felt less like a game of roulette and more like a game of checkers. Boring, but if you know what you're doing you'll come out ahead.

Re:HP becomes Palm? (1)

iplayfast (166447) | about 2 years ago | (#37134572)

I agree. I've got several dells and other generics and one HP box. The HP box is fantastic, and the next computer was going to be HP because of that.

Re:HP becomes Palm? (1, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#37134342)

They have been blowing up the company since Carly Fiona, became the CEO. The problems HP has are a decade old. They have no respect for employees and treat them like machines or cattle and now are shocked that after 10 years of layoffs month after month that only incompetence remains.

I could cite examples but I wont waste space. I am just dumbfounded and glad I do not own shares of the company. HP has a history of killing the goose with the golden eggs and focusing on things that do not make money instead. Ink is the only thing that gives them money thanks to the DMCA and chips in the cartridges. Once the patents expire on them they are screwed. All the good produces are under Agile now like medical equipment that HP used to make. No doubt, they will sell WebOS at a loss and focus on the 0 profit margin desktops instead and let a few billion shareholder money go to waste.

HP was a different place 10 years ago where they made high quality components and were known for great innovation and management.

Re:HP becomes Palm? (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 2 years ago | (#37134622)

Hehe, I know of some guys that used to work at an HP research center in the UK who were let go. These guys were some of the most brilliant minds I have worked with and were first quality researchers . Too bad for HP

Re:HP becomes Palm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134496)

As an ex HP employee I have to permit myself a wry smile at this news.
They bought Compaq and proceeded to decimate the Professional Services (mostly inherited from DEC) and focus on producing PC's (with all the volume from Compaq). Then came 'the witch' aka Carly who culled most of what was left.
Then she bought and decimated them.
We all cheered when Carly was shown the door.
My joy was shortlived as I was out the door a few months later as my dept was axed almost overnight.

Now they do this 'U' Turn.

Sorry HP but the end is nigh. Sad to say this about a once proud company, a once great company to work for.
R.I.P

Sad day for WebOS (4, Interesting)

NiteShaed (315799) | about 2 years ago | (#37134202)

I'm sorry to see it go, but I'm not at all surprised. I was a release-day Palm Pre buyer (Sprint), and I LOVED WebOS, but Palm really blew it. If there were more apps and the hardware was better (and upgraded more regularly) I would probably have gone with WebOS over Android or iOS, but in the end they left me hanging with no decent upgrade path (the Pre was an okay first-gen device, but really needed a major followup at the one-year mark) and they just didn't attract the app developers (I mean the major developers, the indie devs were fantastic!). End result, I'm now a happy Android user (HTC Evo), but I still miss the great parts of WebOS (Cards, Konami-code to root, etc).

Well, I'll just keep hoping that some of that good stuff makes it to Android eventually. Last I heard that's where most of the WebOS team ended up.....

As for WebOS in vehicles....great, just what I need. People have enough crap that they play with instead of paying attention to the road, now they're going to be swiping through multiple cards on their in-dash systems looking for things while careening down the highway? Wonderful....

Software? (2)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 2 years ago | (#37134226)

I try to think of HP as in the context of 'software business' but my mind stays blank. Am I missing something? I mean, quitting PC hardware for something I can't remember?

Re:Software? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#37134362)

It's strange, since HP has been partnered up with VARs for years now. It was a cozy relationship - VAR sold the software and systems, and HP made the hardware. I could see dumping the VARs and going into the integrated solutions business for themselves, but you still need hardware for that to work.

Re:Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134442)

All I can think of is "bundled crapware" and "400 MB printer drivers".

Re:Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134488)

They manufacture a lot of bloat that comes preinstalled on craputers.

Re:Software? (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#37134534)

HP's software business is EDS, which is charging governments vast sums of money for IT systems that don't work.

Re:Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134734)

that's right, and it's vastly more profitable than selling hardware.

Patents (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#37134262)

I wonder if patents had anything to do with it?

It sounds like its time to fire the CEO. They paid billions just a few months ago for WebOS from Palm and now have nothing to show for it. Either way that was a very expensive bad investment if you blow billions just to dump it a very short time later. If patents were that bad the CEO should have made sure their employees did a risk analysis and investigate this. I mean this is why you pay the employees right? Idiots

Alas, poor Compaq (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134272)

I knew it well, Horatio.

(former Houston Compaq employee - 1988 -2000)

I'm OK With This (1)

rlp (11898) | about 2 years ago | (#37134278)

Just as well, judging by the latest HP laptop I've seen, they weren't very good at it.

Re:I'm OK With This (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 2 years ago | (#37134392)

I can't say for the laptops but the HP desktop I have is quite nice. Also the TouchSmart line was rather innovative if underpowered. Now Dell will have no competition in the desktop market and Apple will have no competition in the entertainment pad market. I don't see how this will be good for consumers.

Re:I'm OK With This (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 2 years ago | (#37134598)

Perhaps it's because I'm from a third world country, but do people really buy these kind of computers? I mean, I think every single one of them is a piece of shit. I'd rather build one on my own or have somebody else do it for me if I were to be clueless about computers.

Erk! (1)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#37134280)

Mr. Apotheker, a former software executive, has been developing a new strategy for H-P based on technology services and software.

Remember, HP doesn't just make home computers. HP is a major manufacturer of network hardware, computers for the military, Intel-based servers, printers and other appliances, etc. To talk of "services" and "software" basically means the CEO isn't just looking at spinning-off the PC section but all of the different hardware groups. That's not trivial. Even if the spin-off organizations and units sold to other organizations continue running as they are, it's going to shake things up.

Re:Erk! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#37134568)

All of that sounds exactly what IBM did. So they see the writing on the wall 5 years after IBM did. However IBM has a headstart just unlike Apple where HP was making tablets for years before Apple albeit they were lackluster Windows tablets.

LOL WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134304)

Uh... yeah. Right. Because HP is totally known for developing decent software. Are we talking about shitty drivers, shitty firmware, shitty bundled bloatware, or shitty "enterprise" software?

They should just stick to their shitty hardware. I hope this move ruins them. They've been nothing but a pain in my ass for my entire career. Good fucking riddance.

hp is in the ink business (3, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#37134314)

hp hasn't been in the PC hardware business for quite some time. When they realized they could adopt the razor model with their printers they dropped their first core [agilent.com] business like a hot potato and never looked back. They have never been a serious PC manufacturer despite all the PC's they managed to sell. I knew when they bought Palm WebOS was doomed just like when they bought Compaq.

Just imagine if Palm hadn't dropped the ball. (1)

jbarr (2233) | about 2 years ago | (#37134320)

Palm provided a hardware and software platform in its PDAs that defined the industry. They were the leaders early on, edging out Apple, Casio, and many others, and they maintained that lead for a very long time. Then they dropped the ball. They stopped innovating, and they failed at multiple attempts to define themselves, all the while other companies came in and took over the market that they had locked in. PalmOS ultimately evolved into WebOS, built up a devoted niche market, and now this.

I am a long-time PalmOS PDA user. I purchased the US Robotics Pilot 1000 the week after it was released, and I've owned many models since then (the Palm Vx being my favorite.) When the iPod Touch came out, I was intrigued, not so much for its capabilities (it actually had far fewer capabilities than PalmOS PDAs) but more because I say Apple rising in popularity due to the iPhone, and the developer and user following was propelling it forward very fast and hard. The iPod Touch 4G blows the doors off any PalmOS PDA I had, and frankly, I haven't looked back.

And yet, I always wonder what would have happened if Palm had taken a step back, re-assessed what it was doing, and charged ahead with innovation.

Re:Just imagine if Palm hadn't dropped the ball. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#37134660)

They also made themselves look very foolish in the whole "spoofing Apple's USB vendor ID" business to get the Palm Pre to sync with iTunes instead of doing it the proper, documented way like MarkSpace's Missing Sync - a piece of software that has its roots in Palm's early abandoning of the Mac platform leaving some of their users in the cold.

At that point I was starting to wonder, if someone *seriously* suggested deliberately breaking their USBIF contract terms and spoofing a vendor ID rather than devote some resources to actually writing a sync channel for iTunes, or simply licensing The Missing Sync. It's just not something a company with its head on straight should really be putting across as a valid option.

Re:Just imagine if Palm hadn't dropped the ball. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134818)

Palm provided a hardware and software platform in its PDAs that defined the industry. They were the leaders early on, edging out Apple, Casio, and many others, and they maintained that lead for a very long time. Then they dropped the ball. They stopped innovating, and they failed at multiple attempts to define themselves, all the while other companies came in and took over the market that they had locked in. [...]
And yet, I always wonder what would have happened if Palm had taken a step back, re-assessed what it was doing, and charged ahead with innovation.

What-ifs are kind of a thing, though. Consider that period of early success for Palm. What if Apple hadn't blown it so badly about what types of Newton devices and price points they were willing to make? PalmOS wasn't even in the same league as NewtonOS, but Apple's strategic direction sucked. So, they got badly beaten by a bunch of ex-Apple employees who combined hardware people actually wanted to carry in pockets with software that wasn't in Newton's class, but was nonetheless Good Enough. What if Apple had stepped back and re-assessed what they were doing, and proceeded to deploy their superior PDA OS effectively?

The problem was, they couldn't. 1990s Apple was too screwed up. Once the rot is deep it's difficult to eliminate without a transformational event. In Apple's case, that was almost going out of business and bringing Jobs back. But the thing about such events is that it's much easier to make a failed comeback attempt than a successful one. Unfortunately it looks like a failed comeback is what's in the cards for Palm.

Software business? (1)

Above (100351) | about 2 years ago | (#37134346)

HP has a software business? Besides bloatware on a new HP PC?

Seriously, name 5 software titles HP makes that a random computer user might know.

Re:Software business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134720)

By software, they probably mean consulting. As in, you'll be paying them forever to maintain your stuff. The US Navy pays them a ton of money for that:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/hp-holds-navy-network-hostage/

Re:Software business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134756)

I can't name one. Well, unless you include... actually... can't name that program either. It is some hp printer utility though. What amazes me is these companies have such a hard time making money on the PC. We sell computers and make money on the low-end ones most of all. This is kind of humorous given that most of the low end systems have such a low profit margin. Then we have low cost high margin accessories. We have some other service products and new software/service products coming out too.

Re:Software business? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 2 years ago | (#37134784)

I'm using HP Web Jetadmin right now to program HP network printers. While it does work nicely to program their printers is it necessary for it to use 700MB of ram, talk about bloatware.

The Sooner The Better (2)

MrOctogon (865301) | about 2 years ago | (#37134376)

Oh No! I won't be able to get horribly fragile laptops with absolute crap for support anymore. I have an HP laptop that I bought just over two years ago. It has been mailed back to them for service five times before the warranty expired. Three of those times, they entirely failed to fix the problem, cracked the screen, or didn't return the battery. Every time I have to call them up it is a painful experience talking to India. Contrast with my experience with apple: when I had a bad power supply on a two year old laptop, the guy at the apple store got a new one from a wrapped box and swapped it over the counter with absolutely no questions asked. There's a reason apple is running HP out of the harware market. They make better hardware, and they are actually pleasant to deal with when something does go wrong.

Computer Business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134384)

HP? Leave the PSG (laptops and desktops) business? I'll believe that when I see it.

Exiting the PC Business? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#37134390)

FTA: "...exploring a spinoff of its PC business"

That's entirely different. Summary blows.

Re:Exiting the PC Business? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#37134788)

What will they call the PC-hardware spin-off? I vote for "Compaq".

"Digital" could work too, though there are a lot of consumers who wouldn't get that it's a name with history behind it, and think that "Digital Computer" is just a redundant way of saying "digital computer" but with uppercase letters.

Just like when IBM sold off their consumer line (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 2 years ago | (#37134462)

This move by HP reminds me exactly of IBM's move to sell of their consumer computing line to Lenovo back in 2005 [cnet.com]. At the time the CEO made the prescient observation that the consumer hardware business is a low-margin, low-profit business, and indeed for IBM, they've made much more money operating as a software and services outfit (aside from their mainframe line and supercomputing hardware).

So this leaves Apple and Dell as the only large computer-hardware companies in the USA.

Re:Just like when IBM sold off their consumer line (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#37134810)

well there's always gateway. yuk. i'm extremely disappointed in this news. all 10 pc's in my house are HP's, as are 3 laptops.

Something missing (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#37134550)

Something is between lines. HP recently bought Palm for a lot of cash, announced new webos&devices and now they are ditching those devices. So why they were so confident on buying palm in the 1st place? Im afraid that the patent fight around mobile/portable devices will scale up a lot in the next few months.

Servers? (1)

joelleo (900926) | about 2 years ago | (#37134690)

I've worked in managed hosting for more than a decade and HP servers have proven themselves over and over again. I see no mention of HP divesting themselves of their servers in TFA - anyone have any insights beyond the "well, its not in the article so its not on the table"?

Carly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37134710)

And the circle of Carly's destruction is complete.

History of HP (5, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#37134792)

So, HP was an instrument company, started with an ingenious application of a light bulb [linear.com] no less. Then they became a computer company sort of by attrition, since they needed machines to control their instruments -- IIRC. Then servers came sort of naturally when they got to dabble with UNIX. Then the core instrument business got spun off as Agilent, pretty much tarring the name of Hewlett and Packard IMHO. Then the PC business gets spun off too. So what remains is servers? What the heck software is HP shipping that hasn't to do with their own hardware? It's becoming more and more of a joke to keep the same name. Their business got nothing to do with Hewlett nor Packard. They're turning in their graves. </rant>

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