HP stumbled mightily in 2011, and it had nothing to do with product or people. Even sales remained strong, though the PC business is changing. HP’s mighty stumble was a crisis of confidence due to a chain of shenanigans at the very top. This culminated with the short reign of LÃ©o Apotheker, leaving HP to reassure the market of its strategy.
After years spent focusing on personal technology, businesses are increasingly turning back to the enterprise. The corporate IT market is much more dynamic and competitive, with a few very large “superpower” companies discovering their power to drive purchasing decisions. If a supplier can create an integrated “stack” of hardware and software, they can push product purchases that might otherwise be overlooked or postponed. This is the main reason that enterprise IT acquisitions work so well: Where a small company must fight to sell their product, a large one can hitch it to a much more strategic sale and have it pulled along.
Shakespeare said it best in Hamlet: “For ’tis the sport to have the enginer / Hoist with his owne petard.” Thus it is with Mark Hurd, hoisted by his own petard; ousted by his own rules. Shocked by his abrupt resignation, many speculated that some juicy scandal was hidden underneath. But the news since Friday has left observers scratching their heads: could the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world really have been brought down for lying about his dinner companions?