Roger Cheng for CNET has the news that LG is buying the all-but-abandoned OS from HP. But:
LG has no intent to use WebOS for its smartphones, with the company largely focused on Android as its mobile operating system of choice. Indeed, much of the WebOS team members that work on the various mobile products at HP has already left, according to a person familiar with the deal.
However, Nilay Patel of The Verge has other information:
HP will indeed sell key pieces of its webOS product and team to LG for use in smart TVs, but contrary to earlier leaked reports, the deal doesn’t include the entire webOS portfolio. What’s more, LG’s plans include the possibility of eventually producing a phone or other mobile devices that run webOS, although the company remains focused on televisions in the short term.
He goes on to note that this sounds a bit like a clusterfuck, with LG seemingly not very clear about what they want to do with webOS (sort of like, well, HP):
And LG doesn’t seem to have a firm long-term plan for webOS, and all options are on the table. “In the short term, we’ll apply this to the TV only,” said Dr. Ahn. “But in the future, wherever our plans take us, we’ll consider an extension to other devices.” Asked why it made more sense to invest in webOS than to repurpose Android, Ahn said that LG would use Android “together” with webOS, but that he thinks “webOS is better in some of the user experience like card UI.”
Sure sounds like a hedging of a bet to me…
HP Chief Meg Whitman in a statement about the Dell buyout deal.
But what’s great about the comment is that it just as easily could apply to HP. From October of last year:
Ms. Whitman told a meeting of Wall Street analysts that they should expect sharply lower revenue and profits. She also told them not to expect the company to fully right itself before 2016. “We have much more work to do,” she said.
In other words, the company faces an extended period of uncertainty and transition that will not be good for its customers.
Ashlee Vance and Aaron Ricadela did an extensive look at Meg Whitman and HP for Businessweek — one great anecdote from the Leo Apotheker era:
As one high-ranking former executive in the services business recalls, at his first meeting with Apotheker—to provide the lowdown on the services business—he and a dozen people gathered in a conference room to hear the presentation, only to watch as Apotheker nodded off. The group waited uncomfortably for about 15 minutes. The CEO woke up and, to the gathering’s collective astonishment, said he wanted to move quickly past the financial details of the business, in order to talk about less specific customer satisfaction initiatives,
Perhaps unfair to single out one instance of a man nodding off in a meeting, but seems pretty apt given HP’s last few years.
Student of many. Master of none.
I think laptops can benefit from touch screens, but that doesn’t mean we should consider them tablets. Laptops, phones, and tablets all play different parts in my work or play. And, for me, they each need to be no compromise machines.
It’s very interesting to see Microsoft (becasue those are Microsoft even though it is an HP machine) and Samsung advertising with the word “best” in reference to a device they’re trying to say does two things.
And you can eat the cake too, right?
Arik Hesseldahl for AllThingsD:
In another slide we see Autonomy’s revenue and enterprise value as of January 24, 2011 — less than six months before HP’s acquisition — converted to U.S. dollars and compared against other notable software companies. Autonomy is valued at about $5.7 billion, or a little less than six times revenue. Six months later HP would pay nearly twice a much, which struck pretty much anyone paying attention as odd if only for the timing of the deal. Now HP says it paid about $5 billion too much for Autonomy and that amount lines up almost exactly with the increase in Autonomy’s valuation from this point. Coincidence? Maybe. But, interesting!
In hindsight, nearly everyone seems shocked that HP paid as much as it did for Autonomy — obvious now, given the $5 billion write-down! But the only one who seemed to be really vocal about this at the time was indeed Larry Ellison.
The he said/she said surrounding HP writing off nearly all of last year’s Autonomy purchase is fascinating. Total shitshow. Again.
On the upside: the latest nightmare seems to be doing a decent job of masking the obvious though: HP is just not doing well. At all. They may not be in serious trouble just yet, but they’re getting there. And fast.
Quentin Hardy for The New York Times takes a look at HP’s tough road ahead:
Printer cartridges were once responsible for over 90 percent of H.P.’s profits, but they face increasing competition from lower-price suppliers. Consumers are also using their printers less because many of the things they used to print routinely, like maps and boarding passes, are on smartphones.
90 percent?! Think about HP’s entire catalog of products and how insane that is. Suddenly, HP sounds like the Middle Eastern empire that is scrambling to figure out other businesses for when the oil is gone.
I’m also reminded of this.
Given how much trouble Microsoft has had breaking into the smartphone market despite having and spending all the money in the world, I’m sure HP will be fine coming to the table in 2014.
If you believe Microsoft was late to the game, HP will be arriving in the fourth quarter down twenty touchdowns.
Speaking of HP, Eric Eldon wrote an amazing eulogy for his grandfather, former Hewlett-Packard executive, Charles Alfred Eldon.
On the man he called “Kupu” (Hawaiian for “Grandpa”):
I’m going to share a little bit about his life below, because my generation in Silicon Valley and the tech world needs to know about all the shoulders of giants we are standing on and the heights we can also reach. Too many of us don’t right now.
Which comes back to what Silicon Valley, and the countless thousands of people like Kupu, have helped to make. It’s not just the location, but the idea. You can be anyone, even a bunch of no-name nerds in a farming area on the wrong coast of a second-tier country in a global Depression, and you can build technology companies (HP and Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel) that make the world a better place, and breed new companies (Apple, Google, Facebook) that themselves push humanity forward.
A must read.
Quentin Hardy spoke with HP exec Todd Bradley in his profile of HP CEO Meg Whitman. Bradley, who runs HP’s on-again/off-again PC division:
“Despite the ill-informed commentary that the PC is dead, it is an ever-expanding category,” he says. Unlike the consumer-focused iPad, he says, PCs are “devices that are enterprise-ready, with security and Windows 8 compatibility” that create content for the cloud as readily as they consume it.
Prediction: this statement comes back to haunt him.
HP Spectre One: A metric fuckton* of people have submitted this, and I had already seen it on various websites, but I’ll give credit to my friend Martin, mainly because he’s a lawyer and says stuff like this in an email to me:
Fine, I’ll add to the chorus on just how fucking ridiculous this is. I have no clue if there are any legal ramifications possible here, but it doesn’t matter. In a post-Apple/Samsung ruling world, who at HP thought it would be a good idea to release a product that is such a blatant rip-off, that the only thing holding it back from being a mirror image is that HP is cheaper with the materials they use?
Did they think no one would notice or just that no one would care? The press is (rightfully) ripping this to shreds.
Matthew Panzarino has the best headline on the matter: HP introduces new Apple iMac.