Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/21/hp_sec_probe/
HP starts printing docs for SEC
Inky upside to murky mess
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn't want to be left out of the Big Dig into HP's spy operations. The agency has broadened its probe of the company, asking for records tied to the resignation of board member Tom Perkins and documents related to HP's already infamous mole hunt.
It's lucky that HP is in the printing and imaging business because increased ink revenue and scanner sales are the only good things coming from the spy probe. The California Attorney General's office has been acquiring HP docs, as it gets set to file charges against company employees and third parties HP hired to do its dirty work. Documents are also making their way to Washington with HP executives set to testify before a Congressional committee next week.
Incidentally, HP CEO Mark Hurd has offered himself up as a witness for next week's hearings and plans to hold a press conference tomorrow in Palo Alto to discuss the affair. Hurd has suddenly become more vocal after newspapers started to reveal that he likely had deep knowledge of the spy machinations.
HP today also disclosed that it has reached an agreement with Perkins and confessed leaker George Keyworth. The parties have agreed not to sue each other, but both of the former directors have reserved the right to sue third parties involved in the spy operations. HP and the directors have also agreed not to disparage each other in the press. Which is nice.
As a show of good faith, HP will cover legal costs that the former directors may face as they respond to the various investigations mentioned earlier.
Say what you will about HP, the company has proved that it's very good at handling a crisis badly. The debacle, however, is good news for ex-CEO Carly "I'm too sexy for my web site" Fiorina, who has a memoir coming out next month.
HP first revealed the spy scandal on Sept. 6 - Fiorina's birthday. Someone is getting the last laugh. ®