Hewlett-Packard might just be the tech world’s equivalent of Housewives of New Jersey. Not that I’ve ever watched Housewives, but the comparison just feels right: Drama, drama, sex scandals and more drama.
And so it goes with today’s news: Meg Whitman is the new President and CEO of HP. The former CEO of eBay, California gubernatorial candidate, and HP board member, Whitman takes HP’s reins over from Leo Apothekar, who was ousted from his role after less than a full year on the job.
I’ll be frank here. And I’ll do it in two ways.
One: I’m not nearly enough of a financial guru type to know if Whitman’s appointment will be met with jeers or cheers on Wall Street tomorrow morning. I’ll leave that to the other sort of pundits.
Two: HP’s a mess. The Mark Hurd -> Apothekar -> Let’s turn HP into SAP transition was a mess, and I’m not so sure that Whitman really knows how to run a company that’s traditionally made money by selling hardware. Then again, I live in California, don’t much care for Meg’s politics, and tend towards casting stones at anyone more powerful than me (i.e., most of the modern world). You can’t deny eBay’s growth under Meg’s tenure, even if you can strike back with all sorts of “Bad board member” and “Spent so much money to lose the Governor’s race” accusations in the years hence.
So, yeah, I’m not bullish on HP’s near-term future. And it’s not just because Dr. Dre went bed hopping into HTC’s sheets. But it is what it is, and now Hewlett-Packard is done with Leo and moved onto Meg. So what say you? Will HP return to glory under the woman who grew eBay into a powerhouse? Or is the downward spiral too far gone to be reversed?