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


  1. 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).

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. This shows what a big diff in corp culture between Apple and HP are. HP always BS to the world that HP can do this and that, HP must do this and that… just empty talk… no real action. Apple just do it and release the product when it’s ready. No BS.

  5. A year ago, HP had all they needed for smart phones: a good mobile operating system, app platform groundwork, and they even got a phone all the way to release. Reviewers really liked the software & platform, they just couldn’t recommend it based on how clunky & cheap the hardware was. But there was really nothing wrong with their first generation phones that couldn’t be easily remedied in the second generation.

    Then after all that, HP just gave up on phones. It was like a batter made it all the way to his first major league game, then ran home crying after getting a strike on the first pitch.

    Now, after giving up their perfect position on a whim, HP suddenly wants to enter the smart phone market again? Idiots.

    1. The decision to spin webOS off into the open source community was Whitman’s to make after she was installed as CEO of HP. She’s as clueless here as she was when running eBay.

      What OS are they going to run their smartphones on that gives them a leg up over the competition? Apple has bought the entire year’s supply of unicorn tears.

    1. I was ROFL when I read this story. If HP was slmart, they would become an iPhone enterprise reseller and work on developing iPhone Apps for their enterprise customers. By he time they have a phone, there will be an Amazon phone and a uch of cheap Chinese Android phones in the market. Apple’s advantage is everytime there is a new iPhone, they have an increasing base of old iphone owners upgrading. Next year you will have the millions of contract 4S owners starting the upgrade cycle – many more than the iP 4 population. In addition there is China Mobile user base. Doubt that HP has much traction in China. For the low end market, I believe the new iPod Nano is the form factor for a mass market iPhone for pay go and emerging markets. I believe Apple will do 170 to 200 MM phones in CY 2013. HP will do zero.

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