Hewlett-Packard’s abdication: What hath Apple wrought?

“You don’t have to look very hard to find the Apple (AAPL) angle in Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) August surprise: The announcement Thursday that it is pulling the plug on its tablets and smartphones and preparing to abandon the personal computer market altogether,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“This is Steve Jobs’ post-PC era writ large,” P.E.D. reports. “‘I’m trying to think of a good analogy,’ Jobs said as he explained the concept to All Things D’s audience last year. ‘When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we’ve embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? … We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable.'”

P.E.D. writes, “‘Uncomfortable’ hardly begins to describe what HP is feeling right now.”

Read more in the full article here.
 

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

  1. Since the mid 80’s I’ve been saying “most people don’t need a computer, then need access to information”. The Post-PC era is the true era of information appliances taking many varied forms.

    1. I think that while HP’s announcement is surprising, particularly given the Palm acquisition, it really makes sense. HP sells a lot of computers, but doesn’t make that much money on them (low margins). Mobile devices are just not HP’s cup of tea, and it showed. It took HP far too long to get the TouchPad to the market, and no one really noticed the webOS phones.

      HP will be fine, because it has other strengths to rely on while it makes this change, and because it is one of the first PC assemblers to recognize that low margin, non-distinct PCs are a dying product. HP has an opportunity to morph into something else, and its taking action to do so.

      Dell, on the other hand, is totally screwed.

      1. Not so. IBM got out of the PC Box Market several years ago. But, you are right about Dell. They are really screwed and cried about the PC market and how the tablets (iPads) took away their customers earlier this week.

        Cry baby cry! Then close the doors, give the share holders back their money and go home per your CEO’s recommendation.

        1. Karma is a bitch, Mr. Dell. Now, you’ll be eating humble pie for eternity. And please take my now-unused Dull Perspiron (which died a premature death less than 2.5 years after purchase) with you. Thankfully, I have a Mac.

  2. Steve Jobs tried to warn them. IBM saw this problem a while ago. Yesterday, HP confessed that they were in the PC and device market to long now and were going to refocus in what they make money in. Dell is in denial still. (But not for long.)

    At least HP has other markets that they are strong and profitable in. Dell does not and they have no where to exit into. They will one day just close the doors and give back what ever cash is left to their share holders.

  3. I’ve already got my “truck” (iMac) and a motor-cycle (iPod touch), as well as my “classic” (Powerbook Pismo). Once Apple releases the iPad 3 I’ll have my sports car.

    Really sad what’s happened to HP. First they spun off Agilent – what a physicist I met called the “real” HP. Now after gorging on PCs (Compaq and Digital) it’s looking to get rid of them. Unless they hold on to servers, they’ll be left with just their printer division (their most profitable) and services.

    1. The irony is HP copied the idea for a laser printer from manufacturing a laser printer for Apple Computer called the LaserWriter. So the Apple chickens have hatched, come full circle and come home to roost. Time for a plucking I say.

      1. I’ve never seen concrete evidence that HP made the LaserWriter for Apple.

        Both printers used the same Canon BX driver but had different layout languages (HP using their in-house PCL and Apple settling for Adobe PostScript).

        The fact that they both used the same Canon laser making engine leads a lot of people to assume they were made by the same company since those parts were swappable between the LaserJet and LaserWriter.

        Both Apple and HP provided their own software and made their designs around the Canon hardware writer.

        The Laser Printer itself was invented in none other than Xerox PARC in 1969. 🙂

  4. I don’t understand how Hurd was still able to churn out numbers that pleased the market and, shortly after he departs, HP is left in shambles. Is what’s happening now a result of things that Hurd did under his regime?

  5. Well I sell servers and storage for Dell. They have a very strong Enterprise portfolio, and they has been doing a lot of acquisitions in tha matter. Now the problem is perception. Many customers call and say they didnt know Dell sell servers or storage. And, well, Dell keep using their advertising for pc clients only. Dell Can and had Build, believe it or not, datacenters like apple one, they have very good enterprise products. They just dont want to accept that pc client is not a good busines, and they keep focusing in share market. I hope Dell realize this and start focusing the company on the enterprise portfolio.

    Now, I can’t not say pc is a low margin business, I mean, apple sell their PC a very good margin, so it is a good business for them, I do not see apple selling or not selling MBA, MBP, iMac any time soon..

  6. ” In the end, it was Apple that killed the TouchPad …”

    Well, to ensure accuracy of the words above, I would add this much;
    “It was Apple that created the TouchPad, and all other iPad wannabes, by showing the world what was possible.
    But in the end, these fakers, hangers-on, and coattail riders just couldn’t match Apple’s skill and vision.

    And so in the end, it was Apple that killed the TouchPad.”

    (Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away.)

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