HP chief bows to Jobsian cult
tablet Apple effect
Why is HP killing its webOS tablet and hoping to spin-off its PC business?
During HP's quarterly earnings call with reporters and analysts on Thursday afternoon, company CEO Leo Apotheker explained the company's unexpected about-face with an admission that may seem paradoxical on the surface, but ultimately makes perfect sense. "The tablet effect is real and sales of the TouchPad are not meeting our expectations," he said.
And then he said it again: "The tablet effect is real and our TouchPads has not been gaining enough traction in the marketplace."
Apotheker's message is quite clear. And it looks something like this: "I'm getting spanked by a skinny man in a black turtleneck."
Yes, there are other forces at work. Apotheker points to the economy. "There’s a clear secular movement in the consumer PC space. The impact of the economy has impacted consumer sales," he said. "For our PC business to remain the world’s largest personal computing business, it needs the flexibility and agility to make decisions best for its user direction."
But ultimately, he's admitting defeat at the hands of the Jobsian cult. "The tablet effect is real" means that people are buying tablets instead of PCs. But they're not buying HP tablets. "Our webOS devices has not gained enough traction in the marketplace with consumers and we see too long of ramp-up in the market share," he said.
"Due to market dynamics, significant competition, and a rapidly changing environment – and this week’s news only reiterates the speed and nature of this change – continuing to execute our current device approach in this marketplace is no longer in the best interest of HP and HP shareholders."
It's not. All those shareholders are wishing they'd bought Apple. The tablet effect is quite real, and it's affecting desktops and notebook sales at Apple too. It's driving them up.
Calling it the tablet effect doesn't quite do it justice. ®
Sad and pathetic
I used to think Apple had crappy marketing ideas but they are all-stars compared to HP or Palm before them. It's pretty sad when the CEO is too clueless to figure out that failure is due to an inability to execute. The PC side would be pretty tough to differentiate but having BestBuy throw the tablet in a weekend ad flyer and dusting yourself off is the epitome of lax. Having a web site isn't enough, you can't just sit back and wait for the money to roll in even if you're on youtube.
Has Apotheker's speech been translated from another language?
"There’s a clear secular movement in the consumer PC space" - I really don't understand what that means.
Has it been (badly) translated from another language, am I just too ignorant to be worth HP communicating with, or does it make Leo Apotheker a bit of a pseud?
It sad because many of these big companies think too short term. Apple spent years building the software base for their tablets and iphones. Then comes along HP, buys Palm and expect software as good as Apple in 12 months or they give up. They need to give the WebOS division their head to make the best possible software over several iterations. Not give up after 12 months. Pathetic.
Well, surprise surprise
Aren't we surprised....
Half of el Reg readership pointed out how to get this done. All that HP needed to do was to ship WebOS as an optional visual shell on every PC it shipped.
As far as spinning off the PC biz, not like HP has a PC biz. Its board design has been done by Asus for ages. Ditto for a lot of he manufacturing. When you voluntarily surrender the part of your business which actually _CAN_ make a difference to someone and try to differentiate only on shop-ship spreadsheet juggling prowess you should not complain about the consequences.
You need to remember that El Reg and the readership are essentially techies first and foremost.
Luckily for Apple, they sell to consumers. The things El Reg reading tech-heads hate about Apple products are things that normal consumers either don't care about (such as how big the spec numbers are, or how much the app developers get for each sale) or actually like (iTunes, the closed environment* etc.)
Apple marketing is amongst the best in the world, the products are intuitive and easy for non-technically-literate people to use and the Apple stores are a much better environment to buy stuff in than the alternatives (PC World through something like Maplin).
Ultimately though, the products look good and do a good job. Hell, why should all your tech kit have to look like it was designed by a 14 year old boy?
*consumers don't actually care that the environment is closed as such, just that they don't have the problems of unverified software bricking their device or serious malware problems and they like that all their purchases are made through a single, consistent interface where all they have to do is click the "buy now" button, wait for a time and then have access to whatever it was they just bought.