In case you haven’t noticed, things haven’t been going very well for HP (HPQ) lately and the company’s shareholders this week nearly voted to oust three members of its board of directors. As Bloomberg notes, three board members received less than 60% of the vote in the most recent shareholder referendum just one year after all of them were comfortably reelected with votes of 80% or higher. Erik Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told Bloomberg that such high negative vote totals are rare and that HP will likely have to force some members of its board to step down if it wants to retain any credibility with its shareholders. More →
The PC market is getting hit hard as tablets grow in popularity. PC sales declined this past holiday quarter for the first time in five years, and the first quarter isn’t expected to reverse PC vendors’ fortunes. According to a new report from Digitimes, however, laptop shipments are expected to climb across the board in the second quarter this year. “Toshiba is expected to enjoy a 42% on-quarter growth in the second quarter, followed by Asustek Computer with 41%, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) 30%, Apple (AAPL) 26%, Lenovo 20%, Dell (DELL) 19% and Acer 10%,” Digitimes’ Aaron Lee wrote, citing vendors’ internal projections obtained by the site’s sources. The report also notes that Intel’s (INTC) next-generation “Haswell” processors will be unveiled in June.
LG (066570) on Monday announced that it had acquired webOS from HP for an undisclosed sum. Earlier reports noted that the two companies were in talks over a potential partnership as of last fall. Bill Veghte, executive VP for software and solutions at HP (HPQ), disclosed certain terms of the deal to AllThingsD on Tuesday. More →
My first reaction when I learned HP (HPQ) was going to build an Android tablet was, “Dear God, why?” But after playing around with the tablet a bit and seeing its super-low price point, I’ve concluded that HP’s new Slate 7 is actually a pretty solid effort for the company’s foray back into the tablet world. Let’s start with the price because it’s the most obviously appealing part of the tablet at a rock-bottom $169. What makes this clever on HP’s part is that it can offer the cheap tablet as almost a throw-in to its PC customers who would be interested in owning it as a complement their new computers. So not only is HP undercutting the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 price-wise, but it’s also creating an opportunity to package its tablet to its existing customers as a nice add-on. More →
After its failed acquisition of Palm and abandonment of webOS, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) will now reportedly look towards Android to power its next-generation of mobile devices. Sources speaking to ReadWrite claim that the company is planning to release a high-end tablet that will be equipped with NVIDIA’s new Tegra 4 processor and powered by Google’s (GOOG) mobile operating system. It was also reported that HP may launch an Android-powered smartphone, however earlier comments from CEO Meg Whitman indicated that a new handset won’t be released in 2013. The news of HP’s migration to Android comes shortly after the company launched a new computer based on Google’s Chrome OS. HP’s high-end Android tablet will reportedly be announced soon.
A report issued by Quartz after the market closed on Tuesday suggested Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) board was actively discussing the possibility of breaking the company apart. The site claimed a breakup was one of several options the board was discussing in order to ensure maximum return for shareholders. According to a follow-up from AllThingsD, which has sources at HP who have regularly been proven accurate in the past, no such discussions are taking place. “No, HP’s board of directors is not actively studying a plan to break the company up,” wrote AllThingsD’s Arik Hesseldahl. This jibes with HP CEO Meg Whitman’s comments from this past summer — when asked by the reporter if HP might eventually break apart, Whitman replied, “No. As I see it, everything stays. Each of the pieces fit together.”
HP (HPQ) seems to be taking a page from Conan the Barbarian, as the company apparently thinks the best thing in life is to watch the market crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their shareholders. In the wake of Dell’s $24.4 billion buyout announced Tuesday morning, HP put out a statement taunting its rival by noting that the company “faces an extended period of uncertainty and transition that will not be good for its customers” while also vowing to capitalize on Dell’s misery by swooping in to snag its old customers. More →
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 →