Friday, August 19, 2011

Alas poor WebOS we knew thee not at all.

So HP has pulled up stumps, plans to sell off its bat and ball and go back to Palo Alto.

Leo Apotheker has decided that playing in this space is something that HP just can’t do. HP is also going to look at, maybe, getting rid of their PC business.

So lets get this straight, in 2001 HP bought Compaq, who were having indigestion from their acquisition of Digital. A lot of HP shareholders, including Walter Hewlett objected to the purchase and the deal just squeaked through (and there were noises about a bunch of back room deals being done to get it over the line).

Now, ten years later it looks like leaving Compaq alone would have been the smart thing to do.

HP announced that they would be looking at considering “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”.

Good move Leo, looks like PSG was your best performing division and sold more units than your nearest competitor, Dell. Lets chalk another one up for management genius in this decision.

Rewind to 2010. HP buys Palm for $1.2 Billion. Why? Because we’ve got to get into the phone, handheld doohickey marketspace.

Today HP announces that “it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

That sound you hear is a billion dollars being flushed down the toilet.

The fact is that margins are being squeezed in the PC business and HP doesn’t want to compete against guys like Dell, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and Toshiba. In the tablet/phone business they just couldn’t make it work, but at least were smart enough to figure they should get out sooner rather than later.

This is telling us that when it comes to Mergers and Acquisitions that are made to gain market share or shut down competitors, it rarely ever works so what does this tell us to expect from the Googorola mutant as time goes by?

Have a look at this piece from The Register - HP chief bows to Jobsian cult.

The interesting part of the discussion is at the end of the article where it quotes Leo saying

"Due to market dynamics, significant competition, and a rapidly changing environment – and this week’s news only reiterates the speed and nature of this change – continuing to execute our current device approach in this marketplace is no longer in the best interest of HP and HP shareholders.

It's not. All those shareholders are wishing they'd bought Apple. The tablet effect is quite real, and it's affecting desktops and notebook sales at Apple too. It's driving them up.”

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