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惠普拆分PC业务,TouchPad成绝唱,WebOS魂断李艾科

上网日期: 2011年08月22日 ?? 我来评论 字号:放大 | 缩小 分享到:sina weibo tencent weibo tencent weibo


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关键字:惠普? TouchPad? WebOS?

1.

HP to spin out PCs, drop webOS products

Dylan McGrath

HP Thursday confirmed that it would explore the spinout or sale of its PC business and announced that it would discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad tablet and webOS phones.

HP issued a statement about the PC spinout after it was reported by the news service and the Wall Street Journal. HP also announced an agreement to acquire Autonomy Corp., an enterprise software firm based in Cambridge, England, for roughly $10.2 billion.

In a conference call, HP CEO Léo Apotheker said that the PC market is undergoing rapid transformation and that HP's PC business needs flexibility and agility in order to remain the world's largest PC vendor, and that the company would explore the possibility of a spinout of the unit or another transaction. This exploration is expected to take 12 to 18 months, Apotheker said.

HP said its board of directors authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group, the firm's PC marketing unit. HP is the largest PC seller in the world, with market share of about 18 percent total across desktops and notebooks.

Also Thursday, HP cut its sales forecast for fiscal 2011, saying it now expects revenue of about $127.2 billion to $127.6 billion, down from its previous estimate of $129 billion to $130 billion.

The discontinuation of products that run webOS, the operating system HP acquired when it bought Palm Inc. in 2010, came as a suprise. Apothekerindicated that it was a difficult decision, but that HP's webOS products were not selling adequately. "Our webOS devices have not gained enough traction in the market among consumers an we see too long a ramp up," Apotheker said.

Apotheker said HP would explore strategic alternatives for developing webOS and the webOS ecosystem.

Market research firm Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR) said in a report circulated Thursday that the acquisition of Autonomy indicates that HP may finally move "all in" on both cloud and business analytics. In making the deal, Apotheker proves his ongoing commitment to software as a main driver of HP’s corporate future according to TBR.

2.

Why I don't think Leo can save HP

Rick Merritt

I understand Leo Apotheker's vision for Hewlett-Packard, but I don't believe he can execute on it. HP's woes are broad and deep, and the new CEO's methods are at best clumsy and arguably incompetent.

By announcing HP will take the next year or so to discuss what to do with its PC business, Apotheker will drive customers to Acer, Dell and Lenovo—and drive down the price anyone would pay for HP's $41 billion PC group.

It's hard to think of anyone who might want to buy the world's leading PC business given its razor thin margins. What's worse, that client business has zero position in the hot mobile markets of tablets and smartphones now that Apotheker axed HP's WebOS products.

It's even harder to think of who would want to buy the remaining WebOS software group, given Apotheker is admitting he sees no viable product business based on it. If WebOS was not already in last place as a mobile platform, it is now.

I fail to understand why HP did not opt to explore possible PC and WebOS deals quietly before announcing to the market it believes both are of questionable value. I am no fan of the new HP tablets and smartphones, but axing the WebOS products after two months on the market may set a new record for corporate impatience.

In a conference call, Apotheker talks about managing the PC and WebOS businesses "in a very normal way" while HP explores its options. "I am sure we can manage through whatever distraction there is and continue to deliver great products," he said.

Bull.

HP is victim of too many CEOs. Carly Fiorina bought Compaq to get PC volumes up. Mark Hurd bought Palm for $1.2 billion just 18 months ago create a mobile client strategy.

Now Apotheker, the former SAP CEO, decides client computing is a hot potato, and drives the company to a server software strategy. HP employees should sue for whiplash.

Unfortunately HP's woes are not limited to PCs and WebOS. It's services business has failed to live up to the promise of its massive acquisition of EDS, so today Apotheker also appointed a new and largely unknown head of that unit which he says now faces an 18-month transition period.

On another front, Oracle, with Mark Hurd now sharing the helm, announced it will stop supporting Itanium with its database software. The move helped drive down sales of HP's Itanium servers by nine percent in the latest quarter.

Even printers are facing significant "headwinds" HP reported, in part due to supply chain disruptions after the Japan earthquake.

For relief, Apotheker is turning to a little-known, 15-year-old business applications company called Autonomy Corp. which he aims to acquire for a whopping $10.3 billion. Like most of Apotheker's moves, however, details of the deal are not yet fully baked.

The CEO positions the deal as helping transform HP into a higher margin server and software business. Sounds like Oracle, only the software piece is far less compelling than core database or SAP software.

One analyst was quick to attack the deal as overvalued.

"You are paying close to 11-times the trialing revenue while your stock is at a low," said the analyst on the conference call. Autonomy represents "less than one percent of HP's revenues yet cost 15 percent of its market cap," he noted.

That rustling sound you hear is from disgruntled HP employees printing out their resumes. At this point I don't know what would be worse for HP, suffering through the next two years with Apotheker, or looking for yet another new CEO.


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