[sc:mobile-category ]I’ve spend all weekend since the HP announcement on Friday which killed the TouchPad pissed off at HP. So much so that I really had to take a look and ask why?
It’s not that the TouchPad is such a great product as to be a great loss to humanity or anything. Yes, it showed promise, but had a ways to go to get there.
I think what pisses me off about it is HOW HP killed the TouchPad. HP spent $1.2 billion to acquire Palm, hundreds of millions more to build the product and hundreds more to advertise it. The cost to HP must be north of $2 billion at this point. Dropped like radioactive hot potato. With shards of glass protruding from it. And was on fire.
Dropping all WebOS devices so soon after launching them just reeks of a clueless management. And I do blame management at the highest level on this one. Yes I’m talking about Leo Apotheker, ex CEO of SAP and WebOS butcher.
How can a CEO reasonable tell his board that he’s not even going to try and make a go of a multi billion dollar business and instead is going to focus on a highly competitive space that the company has failed at several times already? Ok, fail might be too strong of word, but the HP services and software group have never been the star of HP. Printers, PC, servers and other hardware has been.
Maybe that’s because HP is a hardware company.
And what’s so wrong with being a hardware company these days anyway? Yes the margins aren’t what they use to be, but you can still make a profit and with the volume you do it’s a good business to be in when you’re the largest player. And let’s face it, Apple is a hardware company and they seem to be doing just fine.
Let’s look at what HP did keep from the consumer market… printers. Something that has always been a cash cow for HP. But really, if Leo wants to be out of the consumer market, then nothing screams consumer hardware more than an HP printer.
Killing WebOS was just plain laziness, Leo couldn’t be bothered to put in the work required to get HP to the top of the tablet and phone markets but was quite willing to stay in the printer business because it didn’t involve any risk or work.
Before Friday, if you had asked me what words I would use to describe HP’s products, one of them would certainly have been “stability” and another would have been “long term support”. Today, well not so much.
And what did HP get for it’s big move? HP’s stock price tumbled by 25%. How many billion did that cost them?
Do I expect HP to reverse course? No, that ship has sailed and even if they change their mind and stay in the PC business, WebOS is dead at HP. The only hope it has is that HTC or Samsung decide to license it, which is a possibility, but seems like a long shot at this point.
I guess for me HP’s total lack of commitment to the TouchPad has soured my view of HP, so much so that I’ll never buy or recommend an HP product again just on simple principle. It’s not like they do anything unique any more, they’re just another enterprise services company now.