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HP still considering spinning off PCs, ending webOS gear

updated 05:35 pm EDT, Thu September 22, 2011

HP not yet reversing PC and webOS plans

HP is still considering spinning out or selling its PC business after the forced exit of Leo Apotheker, new CEO Meg Whitman said. During a conference call to explain the move, she said the company was still evaluating what it would do with the Personal Systems Group and would have a decision back by the promised end-of-year time frame, "if not sooner." She was still supportive of HP's decision that day, including to drop webOS hardware and to buy Autonomy for $10 billion, but she also promised a review.

"I will step back and take a hard look at this," Whitman said.

In explaining the decision to appoint a permanent CEO so soon as a replacement, new executive chairman Ray Lane said the company already had a recent examination of candidates from last year but believed the best choice would come from inside. He himself had been considered for an interim role. The company had already been looking at ousting Apotheker weeks ago, and Lane helped pick Whitman after getting an outline of what she would do as company leader.

Lane was also emphatic that the board of directors was very different than it was last year. Eight new members, five of which Lane appointed himself, were involved.

Apotheker was out because he didn't understand the "deep dynamics" of the business to follow through on strategy, Lane added. The top-level designs were believed to be right, but he had also failed to properly communicate what it was trying to do.

The word of continued plans to distance itself from PCs and webOS hardware isn't likely to change doubts lingering over their fate. Whitman acknowledged this but said the solution was to get to a decision on the Personal Systems Group as quickly as possible, not to necessarily reverse the choice. She didn't say whether any such speed would come with webOS hardware, although over 500 job cuts may make the departure difficult to reverse.

Lane cast it as a matter of deciding whether the PC business could be stronger on the inside or outside; if it was stronger inside, it would stay inside, he said. Rivals are nonetheless likely to be eager for the news in knowing that HP's PCs could weaken during the next few months and that webOS is still not a threat.

by MacNN Staff



  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    maybe she can bring a feminine touch to HP or any kind of touch pad would be a good start.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    they should keep webOS (if they can keep the webOS team), two million users thanks to the fire sale which is a pretty significant user base, and can be chalked up to past management. That ship has sailed, now you can do what you want Meg.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    #1 PC maker...

    ....and they are ditching it. Buys Palm for 1.2bil and is throwing it out the window. What's next?

    (Sent from my Macbook Pro ;-)

  1. MisterMe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I have a bad feeling about ...

    ... naming Meg Whitman as CEO of HP. She may have been a corporate CEO in the past, but she is now known as a failed political candidate.

    HP now badly needs visionary and inspirational leadership to restore HP's reputation for innovation. Instead, the company picks someone who passes for a conservative political star. It would be one thing if she were a star, but she is not. I have been an HP fan since 1973 and a customer since 1975. It is truly sad to see this once great company die such a slow and ignoble death.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why HP is failing:

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HP is dead

    Bringing a conservative politician with an e-commerce legacy to run HP is a recipe for failure. HP is not a Yahoo or an Amazon. I predict Meg will look at things strictly from a financial and marketing perspective and mandate more advertising, fewer US employees, and more overseas employees in administration, design, and production. If that cost-cutting fails, it will just be another company for Google to swallow.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HP need a engineer

    HP was an great engineering company, this is what they lost and need to get it back quickly before its too late. I'm OK if HP doesn't make PC anymore, but they should got back where they start an engineering company who made electronic device for engineer.

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