As Microsoft (MSFT) prepares to push further into its partners’ territory when it launches the Surface Pro tablet later this week, companies like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are starting to think about a future where Microsoft selling end-to-end experiences powered by its own Windows platform. HP on Monday released its first Chromebook, a 14-inch notebook powered by Google’s (GOOG) Chrome OS. While we don’t expect the bulk of HP’s lineup to jump ship from Windows 8 any time soon, the company is clearly exploring other options and it’s off to a good start with a $330 Chrome-powered laptop featuring a big display, a 1.1GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of flash memory and 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage free for two years. HP’s full press release follows below. More →
Since the Windows-based PC market hasn’t been doing so hot lately, HP (HPQ) has apparently decided to give Chromebooks a shot. 9to5Google on Monday found a new specs sheet posted on HP’s website detailing a not-yet-announced Pavilion Chromebook that features a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, a 1.1GHz Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB SSD. There’s no word yet on when the pricing or release date for the new Chromebook, but it’s hardly surprising that HP has decided to try its own hand at selling Chromebooks since rival manufacturer Samsung (005930) has had some success in selling the low-cost laptops in recent weeks.
Breaking news: the PC industry isn’t doing very well. Unnamed sources have told Digitimes that HP (HPQ) and Lenovo (0992), which happen to be the PC industry’s two largest vendors, “are expected to see their notebook shipments drop about 20% sequentially in the first quarter of 2013, higher than an average 10% decline anticipated for the industry.” Overall, Digitimes‘ sources say that HP will ship around 6.5 million notebooks on the quarter, a significant drop from the 8 million notebooks shipped in the previous quarter, while Lenovo will see its shipments fall to around 5.2 million units this quarter from over 6.5 million in the previous quarter. But all is not doom and gloom for the industry this year: Digitimes‘ sources also said that “demand for notebooks in the end market is expected to return to normal in March before staging a substantial pick-up in April.”
In a rational world, this would be a big potential win for HP (HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman: There may be companies willing to take Autonomy off her balance sheet. The Wall Street Journal reports that HP “has received expressions of interest from potential suitors for its Autonomy Corp. business” that it purchased for $11 billion back in 2011. Washing its hands of Autonomy would seem to be a welcome option for HP, which last year had to write off a whopping $8.8 billion in the wake of alleged accounting fraud committed at the enterprise information technology firm prior to its acquisition. But despite all that, the Journal says that Whitman so far has been reluctant to dump the company to any bidder even though HP’s most recent 10-K filing said that it was evaluating “the potential disposition of assets and businesses that may no longer help us meet our objectives,” a strong hint that it wants to unload some underperforming segments.
Just what HP (HPQ) needs: Another public relations headache! Business Insider reports that some HP tech support employees are suing the company for allegedly having them work more than 40 hours a week and then failing to deliver overtime pay. Plaintiff Eric Benedict, an HP employee, is alleging that the company intentionally “misclassified” workers “so that they wouldn’t qualify for extra pay.” An HP spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is “reviewing the complaint” but has no specific comment on it at this time.
To understand what an unholy mess HP (HPQ) is in right now, consider that CEO Meg Whitman says she needs more time to fix the company than she would have had to fix the entire California economy if she’d been elected governor. In a long Businessweek article about HP’s current turmoil, Whitman says that it will take her five years to execute her full plan to turn the company around. Whitman acknowledges that “some people don’t like that answer” when they ask her how long it will take, but she says it’s simply a reality at this point. More →
Unless a meteor strikes its corporate headquarters, things can only get better for HP (HPQ) in 2013. Bloomberg reports that HP is starting off the new year by taking a fresh look at which company divisions it needs for the future and which ones can be tossed over the side. In the company’s most recent 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it said that it was evaluating “ the potential disposition of assets and businesses that may no longer help us meet our objectives,” which is a strong hint that it wants to unload some underperforming segments. The one problem for HP, however, is that many of its assets could be toxic, especially in light of the company’s recent multibillion-dollar write downs related to its acquisitions of companies Electronic Data Systems and Autonomy. HP acknowledged this reality in its SEC filing by noting that it “may encounter difficulty in finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner.”
Windows 8 tablets that were set to be equipped with a new, energy-efficient chip from Intel (INTC) are reportedly being delayed until early 2013, according to Information Week. PC makers are said to be having trouble building drivers for the company’s dual-core Clover Trial Atom Z2760 processor, which was expected to help manufacturers compete with the iPad and several top-notch Android tablets in terms of performance and battery life. More →
IDC published a new report on connected devices this week. It was largely devoid of surprises, but one very strange aspect of IDC’s forecasting immediately popped out: Once again, IDC is projecting PC and laptop growth that is cheerfully out of sync with everything we know is happening in the computer industry. More →
Post-PC era, here we come. IDC is projecting that tablet and smartphone sales this holiday season will “grow 55.8% and 39.5% year-over-year respectfully, while PCs are expected to decline slightly from this quarter a year ago.” The big winners in this scenario aren’t hard to figure out: IDC says that Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930) are poised to stay “at the top of the smart connected device space” while traditional PC manufacturers such as HP (HPQ) will continue to languish. More →
Dating someone out of frustration and desperation is never a good idea, and it’s apparently not a good idea when it comes to corporate mergers either. Reuters recently posted a mammoth report detailing HP’s (HPQ) disastrous acquisition of IT software firm Autonomy, and it doesn’t make former CEO Léo Apotheker look very good. Essentially, unnamed sources told Reuters that Apotheker was so desperate to transform HP from a hardware manufacturer into a software firm that he overlooked several warning signs when he agreed to buy Autonomy for $11.1 billion back in 2011. More →
HP (HPQ), which until last week was just a boring underperforming tech company, has become a lot more interesting lately. Ever since HP accused IT software firm Autonomy of committing fraud prior to its acquisition in 2011, Autonomy founder Mike Lynch has been hopping mad and has accused HP of smearing his company’s good name to make up for its own incompetence. Now HP has shot back today, claiming that it has “uncovered extensive evidence of a willful effort on behalf of certain former Autonomy employees to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company in order to mislead investors and potential buyers.” More →
And here come the lawsuits. Bloomberg reports that HP (HPQ) investors have unsurprisingly decided to sue the company over the $8.8 billion write off related to its 2011 acquisition of enterprise IT firm Autonomy. The complaint against HP “was filed today in federal court in San Francisco by the law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP,” Bloomberg writes. HP last week surprised the tech world when it alleged that Autonomy had committed accounting fraud before its acquisition by HP and said it would seek to press criminal charges. Former Autonomy founder Mike Lynch quickly shot back at HP and said that the company was unjustly smearing his firm to cover up for its own incompetence.