updated 04:50 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
HP CTO jumps ship amid wider chaos
HP's PC division faced more repercussions from recent months on Monday as its Personal Systems Group's CTO Phil McKinney said he would be retiring from HP. He planned an active retirement and would be an advisor to others without conflicts of interest or other "corporate restrictions," he said. The exit from HP was on friendly terms, but he wanted to "help innovators get better at innovating."
There would be a transition period to help fill out deals, but the executive would leave the company at the end of 2011.
While HP has regularly been accused of being overly conservative in design, some of its most unique PCs have arrived in the nine years of McKinney's tenure. Some of those he shephered have included the Blackbird high-end gaming PC, the Firebird, and DreamScreen. He went to help Voodoo PC's gaming emphasis filter into the regular PC line, such as the Envy 133 and the later, more successful Envy 13, 14, 15, and 17.
McKinney's leaving follows just after HP recommitted to PCs and leaves it without one of its driving forces at a difficult time in the industry, when Windows PC sales are slow. The company has been susceptible to the effect of iPad on PCs as its emphasis on very low-priced notebooks has made Apple's tablet an alternative for some.
It also came after a series of upheavals inside HP itself, most notably the firing of CEO Leo Apotheker after less than a year, one-time Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein being folded into a lower-profile role, and rumors of Todd Bradley being frustrated with the current structure.