HP CEO Whitman: ‘We have to ultimately offer a smartphone and get it right this time’

“Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman says it’s only a matter of time before the company returns to the smartphone business it all but abandoned 13 months ago,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for AllThingsD.

“In an interview that aired on Fox Business News today, Whitman told correspondent Liz Claman that in many places around the world, phones are the first computing device that people own, making HP’s lack of participation in that segment a glaring absence,” Hesseldahl reports. “[Whitman said], ‘We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device. You know, there will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet, or a PC or a desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We’re a computing company; we have to take advantage of that form factor. … We did take a detour into smartphones, and we’ve got to get it right this time. My mantra to the team is: ‘Better right than faster than we should be there.’ So we’re working to make sure that when we do this, it will be the right thing for Hewlett-Packard, and we will be successful.'”

Hesseldahl reports, “HP, you’ll remember, acquired Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion, not long before its then CEO-Mark Hurd departed. Under his replacement, Léo Apotheker, HP sought to apply Palm’s webOS operating system to a tablet that it hoped would challenge Apple’s iPad. It didn’t work out that way and Apotheker shuttered HP’s webOS hardware operations in August of 2011. Whitman, who replaced Apotheker 40 days later, ultimately decided that the webOS software was better off in the hands of the open source community, and is working on an OS called Enyo.”

Read more and watch the videos in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, “doing it right” doesn’t mean knocking off Apple’s industrial design and trampling all over Apple’s trade dress, like HP routinely does with their shiteous Windows PCs. Jony Ive doesn’t work for you, you hacks.

Related articles:
HP blatantly copies Apple’s iMac, Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad designs – September 10, 2012
Apple is killing Dell and Hewlett-Packard – August 6, 2012
HP ‘designer’ on HP’s MacBook Air clone: ‘Apple may like to think they own silver, but they don’t’ – May 9, 2012

61 Comments

      1. The iPhone is a wonderful phone.
        Sure its a smart phone… its a mini computer in your pocket.

        But honestly its an over kill. The real nature of the phone is verbal communications – CALLS and TEXTS.
        Naturalizing voice dictation as the focus of PHONES is where HP needs to beat Apple.

        I see potential where anyone company could capitalize on this idea. Don’t match or copy Apple… do something different.

        HP needs to make the “simplephone”.
        — a much easier slimmed down easier to use phone.

        HP, forget all the damn apps, the music, video and camera.

        Voice assistance needs to be BURNT into the chip.
        Read AND Create “text messages” by voice command only.
        Call, “Steve”, with your voice. A display-less Phone.
        A simpler easier phone over all.

          1. iSteve. Do not assume voice time is anything like SIRI.
            And embedded dictation chip without the internet.

            Calls… what phone out there stupid phone or smart can you not place a call…

            dial with your voice

            example: tell your simplephone

            Call: 622-647-3313
            or
            Call: iSteve
            it dials
            or
            Save: 123-867-0921
            Name it: Emergency
            Dial: Emergrency
            or
            Text iSteve: Hi Steve I think this would be a great product.
            Remember the difference is an EMBEDDED chip to handle this not using the INTERNET. ok?
            or
            Read Last Text: “blah blah”
            or
            Waterfalls Incoming call: Ok, please answer.
            or
            iSteve is calling: Hi iSteve how’s it going?
            or
            Memo: Buy pizza and beer on the way home friday
            Set Reminder: At 4:00 pm read last memo.
            or
            What time is it: its 4:00 pm
            or
            My Notes: You have 4 notes.
            Ok, Playback number 5. No play all.

            I think examples like the following would be impossible however Maps and directions with GPS cost nothing here.

            Where Am I: Waterfalls you are driving on route 66.
            Where is the next gas station: The next intersection please hang a right turn go 5 miles.
            or
            … just stick with ONSTAR… lol

          1. WaterFalls,

            I think you are clinging to the definition of a phone from last century. Languages evolve with people and the times, so phone no longer means what it used to mean (a device for verbal communication over distance through wires). To an increasing number of people (perhaps already a majority, at least in developed world), mobile phone is a portable computing device with a 24/7 internet access. It is occasionally (and increasingly more rarely) used for verbal communication.

    1. Yes, that “have to” is a huge mistake and it’s the basis for a disaster.

      Second; she said “We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device”, if that’s how she defines the overall strategy for a global company like HP, no doubt most anyone can do a better job.

      Third; Steve Jobs never said Apple would offer a mobile phone; instead Apple walked in just like that. Remember that one!? Apple would work years to get it right and then just show up.

      Fourth; I think it will work better for HP if they focus on designing a computing device that transitions the company from designing notebooks to designing tablets. If and whenever they get a tablet right then they could venture on designing a mobile phone.

      Good luck Miss Whitman!

    2. Here is mafiasoft strategy! mafiasoft asked hp to buy palm an kill it. To back that “favor” mafiasoft will supply “ruindows” to hp devices with no fee.

      You heard this here first!

  1. It’s not “We have to offer a smartphone and get it right this time …”, the simple truth is “We should have done it several years ago”.

    They’ve missed that boat and there isn’t a second voyage.The SS Tablet has also sailed and HP aren’t on that boat either.

    1. Thank Apotheker for that…if he hadn’t given up so quickly, HP would be way better off now and WebOS would have an app ecosystem. When it comes to software and tech products, even if you start out with crap, if you keep iterating it, eventually you get to a point where you have something good. See: Android, Windows Phone, etc.

      The reason nobody ever came up with a serious challenger is because they all got discouraged by their early lack of success and gave up. Even Microsoft gave up. That’s not happening in smartphones. Even the manufacturers and OS players keep going back and making it better and trying again, they’re not exiting the market if they don’t get traction right away.

      1. Correct. HP bought itself a great start to the smartphone business when it bought Palm — it obtained both valuable patents and webOS, which was a very good start. If Apotheker (Leo the HP Apocalypse) hadn’t been blinded by tablet envy, HP could have continued to develop webOS into a real viable alternative to iOS and Android in particular.

        1. Agreed. Meg ‘ebay’ Whitman doesnt have a whit of sense. They HAD Web OS, a perfectly good OS that could have done with better hardware, (the Pre was kind of cheesy and plastic and not stylish) but no, they decide ti simply dump it instead of DEVELOPING it, the way Apple do.
          $1.2 billion thrown away? Nice one Meg.

  2. They might as well just go with Windows Phone and be done with it. Windows Phone 8 isn’t a bad OS, I actually think it’s better than Android…it just doesn’t have much manufacturer and carrier support.

    If I had a stroke and lost half my brain and somehow bought a phone that wasn’t an iPhone, it would be a Windows Phone…not Android.

    1. They never made a good effort with WebOS. I’d dread having to pull the HP work culture out of its own rectal orifice. I suspect they’re pretty jammed up in there at this point. Echoes of the decay I got to witness at Eastman Kodak.
      :-Q******

  3. Have you heard of a lady named Meg who stood at the edge of a 100 foot cliff and said she could fly. She said that the letter ‘S’ for Superman cape made her invincible which allowed her to fly through the air.

    She took a step over the edge and immediately plunged to her death proving that the letter ‘S’ and ‘HP’ are not proof against mortality.

  4. Statement made the day of the most successful product pre-order in phone industry? Yep. When you launch and you’re “ahead” of Apple, just remember you’ve already been lapped 100 times…

  5. Just how is she planning to achieve this ?

    Copying the iPhone has already been done by Samsung. Every other style of phone is failing to make profits.

    They obviously won’t be able to use IOS. The Android market is totally dominated by Samsung and there is far too much competition from others. If they go for Windows, they’re going to have to buid a better phone than Nokia.

    I know that CEOs always talk up their companies at times like these, but they need to come up with a credible plan. So far we know what she would like to achieve. Now she needs to work out exactly how to achieve it. A failed attempt could be very costly and I don’t think that HP is resilient enough to withstand an expensive loss-making folly.

    1. Every other style of phone simply hasn’t hit the spot with consumers. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Palm’s webOS was getting pretty good reviews, but Palm simply couldn’t continue financially.

      There’s plenty of room for an alternative to iOS. Just don’t copy the rubber banding/bouncing, swipe to open, etc., all of which are easily worked around with a little creative thought.

      Apple has some big-time patents to worry about, but so does HP with its Palm collection of patents. Perhaps the two companies can come to a mutual license swap or some other arrangement.

      Remember, Apple’s not afraid of competition, it just doesn’t like companies ripping off its IP (like Samsung).

  6. The chances of anybody getting it right-er than Apple grow colder by the day. The iPhone keeps getting better, works beautifully with the entire Apple ecosystem, and has a bright future. Companies who want to succeed in computing will have to invent a new category.

    1. Totally agree. And in essence, that’s what Apple keeps doing: Find an area of computing with lots of players, none of whom are doing it right; go in and do it right; reap the rewards; move on (MP3 players moving on to iPod touch).

  7. Memo to Meg:
    No-one is clamoring for another smartphone. People are happy with iPhones and, who knows why, but some other people think they are happy with Android phones.

    Meg, you should probably recall Steve Ballmer saying “we have to offer a microsoft music player. We can’t just let Apple have this.” Of course what they did was the Zune. Similarly, msft has made a smartphone. By all accounts both their new smartphones and old Zunes are/were adequate, but they were late to the game, and let’s say this again, nobody’s clamoring for another device. You have to stop and assess what business you are in, and what your opportunities are. Go ahead do your H-P iPhone wannabe, but anyone with any sense knows it would be a mistake.

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