HP CEO Whitman takes aim at the enterprise smartphone market

“As the market for desktop PCs continues to fade, Hewlett-Packard has found itself in a tight spot. CEO Meg Whitman’s Sept. 10 announcement that HP’s expense-reduction plans — including showing 27,000 employees the door — would become even more aggressive was well received among investors,” Tim Brugger reports for The Motley Fool. “But as I discussed in the article posted shortly after the news, there’s a problem.”

“Unless you’ve been hiking in the outback, you’ve heard all about the craziness surrounding the unprecedented success of Apple’s iPhone 5 release. The latest and greatest gadget from Apple more than doubled pre-sales of last year’s wildly successful iPhone 4S,” Brugger reports. “So when Whitman announced plans on Sept. 14 to enter the ultra-competitive smartphone market, the sound you heard was the collective groans of HP shareholders everywhere. Industry folk will recall that HP’s been down the smartphone road before, with less than stellar results, after its 2010 purchase of Palm and its WebOS system.”

Brugger reports, “So what is HP thinking? Turns out HP’s foray into the smartphone market has little to do with Apple, Nokia, or any other retail smartphone player. No, the space Whitman plans on going after is an area once dominated by beaten-down Research In Motion — the enterprise market… HP has to do something to make itself relevant again, and the enterprise smartphone market could be it. And Whitman deserves some time; a year is hardly enough to right a meandering ship, and she seems more than capable.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s the thing, even if they go with Android (a home-brewed OS or Windows Phone are just so far behind that only Android would give them any type of springboard into the market) HP’s got an extremely tough row to how:
6 of top 10 enterprise devices using Good Technology are iOS, 97% of tablets are iPad – April 26, 2012

iPad owns the market. Smart enterprises will gravitate to iPhones in order to match their iPads.

Related articles:
HP ‘Bender’ Android smartphone surfaces in online benchmarks – September 17, 2012
HP CEO Whitman: ‘We have to ultimately offer a smartphone and get it right this time’ – September 14, 2012
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. I feel sorry for her. She has literally taken over a sinking ship – or at least a ship with a gaping hole in its side that needs to be plugged real fast. So she wants to go for the every-shrinking BB market?

    HP really does look like a lumbering dinosaur that’s being attacked and torn down by nimble mammals from all sides. That’s what a string of bad and clueless CEO’s (Fiorina, Hurd, Apotheker) does to a once-proud company. What a shame…

    I used to admire HP until Carly went in there and decided that she was some hotshot that will make HP a “sexy” company. She’s the one who started the tailspin at HP.

    1. Don’t feel too sorry for Meg. Even if she fails in her efforts to revive the fortunes of HP, she will still bank millions in the process. The only downside would be her loss of reputation.

      If you want to feel compassion for someone, start with the 27,000 HP employees who will soon lose their jobs, as well as the tens of thousands that could follow. They are the ones that will bear the brunt of corporate failure, no matter how well they performed their jobs.

      1. I clearly understand what you’re saying. I’m just saying that she has a monumental task ahead of her with the mess she has inherited as a CEO. It isn’t a matter of compassion, just a statement saying that I don’t believe she can turn HP around.

        It’s really too bad that people lose their jobs, but that happens everywhere. Look at Nokia and RIM. Obviously, Apple has had a lot to do with that because Apple simply outperformed them in every possible way.

        As I said, I don’t feel “sorry” for Meg in terms of her financial standing or anything like that – just that she seems burdened with an impossible task as the CEO. I hope HP turns it around and becomes an IBM-type company but they’re too deeply entrenched in the PC business that they can’t abandon.

  2. EVERY TIME when they have lackluster products that they know can’t really compete half dead companies like RIM, Dell, HP say they are not interested in the consumer but going for the ‘enterprise market’.
    re: Playbook, Slate tablet, Zoom, etc. now HP.

    these dudes think that they can grease up the company IT guys with ‘cocktail sales lunches’ and ‘sales promotions at resort hotels’ rather than actually making it a competent product.

    as S. Jobs said Apple didn’t like the enterprise market because the end user is not the guy (the manager, IT doofus) who buys it.

  3. Is there such a thing as the Enterprise Smartphone Market anymore? Or is it just the Smartphone Market, with the iPhone leading the way, especially in the Enterprise sector? After all, many enterprises stay away from Android because of security concerns.

    1. I think you are right about Apple already being entrenched in that space. People have also gotten used to using the device of their chosing. Good luck trying to put that genie into a bottle.

  4. HP had its chance: A table with WebOS. As a product, WebOS was WAY nicer than Android. Worked well, it could have been the competitor iOS deserved. And as much as I love Apple products, a worthy competitor is always good to keep a leader sharp.

    What did Apotheker do? Kill it before even giving it a chance. WebOS was DOA, not because it was a bad product, but because of management determination.

    If something needs to be learned from Steve Jobs is to ignore naysayers when your feeling is right. WebOS was that “feeling right” a moronic Wall Street puppet just killed.

    I much rather have HP with WebOS competing for a marketshare instead of Android, which, well, is a bad copy of iOS, stolen an unworthy.

    Apotheker came from a dinosaur-size ERP with no innovation since its development for the mainframe. Meg Withman is a .com child. I don’t dislilke her, but I don’t know how would she turn it over.

    One thing I’m sure of: Either Android or Windows mobile will make any HP tablet a commodity, a “one more in the shelf”, while WebOS could have been that complete experience of software + hardware Appe provides.

    HP lost a golden opportunity. Would Meg Whitman have a bit of boldness in her, she’d annouce a big “we screwed up, we’re reviving WebOS, making it better, to provide users a great experience”, instead of the “Ooooooh, we got to get to the tablet/phone market, let’s use Android and be one more of the crowd”.

    That attitude is what’s killing HP, and that’s what finally will destroy it.

  5. HP used to be a great company- emphasis on used to be. Then they got in bed with Microsoft, decided all they needed were PCs and jettisoned a long list of important and profitable businesses. Now that the PC horse is ready for the glue factory they decide they need a mobile phone.

    Why does this sound like a repeat of Kodak? Kodak invented the CCD, owned chemical photography & medical imaging, had high quality talent and money for miles and managed to piss it all away. HP seems to be following a similar pattern.

    The HP Way caught the imagination of a young Steve Jobs and a young Woz. Not so much anymore- their most profitable business is selling grossly overpriced ink. Not such a technical whiz kind of place anymore.

    HP owns the IP to Web OS, Palm OS and BeOS. If they were serious they have the tools to bring a credible product to market. I doubt the woman who pulled a Mitt RawMoney and tried to buy the job of Governor of California will do so. Not much imagination.

    1. Yeah Governer Moonbeam is doing such a kick ass job. Not defending Whitman but she spend her personal money. People chose not to vote for nevertheless. You do not think the new boondoggle of high speed train does not have union members dues going to the governers pockets either?

        1. well one uses others people money i.e. union dues from teachers and any other public union to load up his election coffers and aomeone who uses their own money to pay for their campaign. Thats not buying the governership. If Whitman “bought” the election, she would have been governer. Also do not think Gov. Moonbeam is a pauper, he has his personal fortune but he rather spend other people money, like people of his ilk, than his own. I personally did not cote for Whitman but this state is going downhill if the high speed rail and tax increases get passed.

  6. When HP’s campus @ Wolfe Road in Cupertino, CA is scheduled to move out later this year (to make room for Apple Campus 2), HP is not going to stuff everyone back to it’s Palo Alto HQ.

    I bet majority of employees from HP’s Wolfe Road campus in Cupertino will be part of the HP’s 29K RIF. Where are they going to find other employment? Perhaps, they should talk to the nearby Ranch 99’s manager? 🙂

    When Meg become HP CEO, HP employees have to know they are fu_ked for good. Sad…. Sad…

  7. I thought that the CEO of a failing company was to come up with ways to make them profitable again. This looks like a great way to spend a ton of money with only an infinitesimally small chance of making an overall profit.

    To flesh out the problem a little more. RIM used to sell phones specifically to the enterprise market – how well are they doing these days ?

    IOS is not an option for anybody other than Apple and the previously highly unlikely chances of HP striking a deal with Apple just slipped to nil after HP shamelessly ripped off the look of the iMac.

    Android drives a lot of handsets, but only Samsung is making money from selling Android handsets. Are HP going to take on Samsung and beat them ?

    Windows handsets may be considered to be the only alternative, but they will then need to create a better phone than Nokia and we still don’t know how many other manufacturers will adopt Windows – Samsung for instance ?

    Obviously part of her job is to talk up the prospects of her company, but another part of her job is to avoid wasting a vast amount of money on a project with no chance of succeeding.

  8. Rhis market is SO VERY YOUNG. The first home computers came out in the mid 70’s … 40 years ago. The C64 was very popular, but the market bloomed (and boomed).

    Apple deserves their dominance because of their innovation, but to think that two models – an iPad 2 and and iPad (3) can satisfy the demands of the globe is fooling yourself. This Post-PC market is less than 3 years into a 50 year cycle.

    Microsoft seems best positioned for growth. The market needs an iOS and Android competitor and Micosoft is best positioned to make that happen. Trouble is, they make awful user experiences and so that and being late to market will make for a small market share.

    1. Didn’t Microsoft take aim at the smart phone market recently and shoot itself in the foot? I think HP is about to repeat that mistake and shoot itself a little higher up. Perhaps a gut shot with a long painful death.

  9. what most people forget is the board of directors hires the CEO. so HP has had a series of the wrong hires. pouring on the blame to the CEO is incomplete without piling on the board at the same time. the CEO is just a convenient target. the demise of most great companies starts in the board room. remember it was a board that fired steve jobs.

    successful CEO’s today art mostly good at execution. beings visionary is a requirement, but seldom gets out hired. if apple was not almost dead, steve jobs would have never gotten his old job back. boards today are made up of mostly CEO’s from other companies. their failure to recognize CEO talent is rooted in the problem they are trying to solve at the moment. HP had multiple problems making the decision harder.

    meg was booted from ebay because it became stale on her watch. it didn’t die after she left, so that means the board acutually made a decent decision.

  10. The real problem is that HP doesn’t realize that there really isn’t any difference between enterprise and consumer markets where smartphones and tablets are concerned. What features can you really add (because subtraction makes no sense) to a smartphone to make it better for enterprise? Sure, there could be some hardware which would be useful for select industries, but nothing that couldn’t be integrated into a protective case.

    The biggest difference between enterprise and consumer markets is software, not hardware, for smartphones. If HP thinks it will just take over where RIM is leaving off, good luck.

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