HP Tries To Better Explain Its New Direction

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News Posted: Thu, Sep 8 2011 9:34 PM
HP Offers Free Apps to TouchPad OwnersOver the course of the past few weeks, since the company’s announcement that it would no longer produce tablets and smartphones based on webOS and that it planned to spin-off its PC business, HP has been the target of a lot of negative sentiment. HP claims, however, that much of the information it tried to convey has been misunderstood.

In attempt to set the record straight, the company just posted up an article on its Small and Medium Business website titled, “HP's bold new direction. The facts.” In the article, HP tries to better explain its plans for webOS, its PC business (also known as its Personal Systems Group), warranty support, and a couple of other topics.

In the article, HP says this of its future plans for its PC business, “PSG is a leading manufacturer of personal computers in the world and had annual revenues of approximately $41 billion in fiscal year 2010. Its products are used by millions of consumers and business users worldwide.” It’s these facts that led many to scratch their heads and wonder what the heck HP was thinking when it announced plans to spin-off such a huge, profitable business. But the article continues, “HP sees an opportunity to further improve the flexibility, innovation and responsiveness of the products and services you rely on from PSG, which is why our board authorized an investigation into strategic alternatives for this business. Our preferred course is to spin off our PC business into a separate company, creating a more agile organization to help us better anticipate change and quickly respond to customers.”

HP also explains why it discontinued operations for the TouchPad and webOS phones and outlines some of its plans for webOS. “webOS is not going away; quite the opposite. Since its launch, webOS has been praised for its differentiated user experience. We know that many developers feel the operating system is elegantly designed and is a respected platform. However, the webOS devices have not gained enough traction in the marketplace with consumers and we see too long a ramp-up in market share. By discontinuing operations for the devices, we will be able to focus more resources on developing and enhancing the webOS platform.”

Without new devices running webOS, we have to wonder what the incentive is for HP to continue developing and enhancing the OS other than to sell it off. It’s not likely webOS will need many features added to be embedded into a printer or other standalone device that won’t offer near the functionality of a tablet or phone, for example. And TouchPad and Pre owners can't realistically expect many software updates over the long haul.

Regardless of the ultimate outcomes for webOS and its PC business, HP had to at least try to set the record straight and clarify its plans. At the very least, a few of the topic covered in the piece should set the minds of some owners of HP devices at ease knowing that the company still plans to honor warranties and support their products.

What say you?
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I really think we just have to wait and see what happens. I was definitely one of those scratching my head after hearing about the PC bit, and maybe they are just tossing shaking things up a bit. But like I said, only time will tell. I do find webOS refreshing though, and hope it does continue on in some form.

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I think everyone was scratching their head after this announcement. The announcements about their tablet were not too surprising with Android and iOS's dominance of the market. But them including their PC business in that group is what really threw people for a loop. I agree with you PhantomGeek that only time will tell what will really happen. But I have no doubts that the spun off company will be successful. The truth of the matter is that HP makes a lot more money off of their ink and enterprise products than the PC business.

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DSmith replied on Fri, Sep 9 2011 11:45 AM

It seems to me that tablet and mobile phone hardware is heading in the same direction as PC hardware has already gone: commodity. American technology companies will have a hard time making a decent profit or even competing on this stuff pretty soon, having to try to compete with the likes of HTC and Samsung. You can look in the direction that another major technology company went long ago when they shipped their PC and hard drive businesses east. I'm surprised HP has stayed in the PC business this long (as much as I hate to see them go; I own an HP PC and I like it a lot).

The platform software, however, is not going to become a commodity anytime soon (aside from the kernel). This is where I think HP could still innovate and do some interesting things with webOS. Not having to deal too much with the hardware and kernel (since it is pretty much an Android kernel anyway) gives them more resources to improve the to upper software layers and take advantage of an already very elegant user interface (and iron out some of the bugs and performance issues that still exist).

And yes, I am a webOS fan and user and I am rooting for it :)

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DSmith replied on Fri, Sep 9 2011 11:47 AM

Oh, and on the printer thing, I had to set up a new HP printer for my sister and it had a little touchscreen interface that "felt" a whole lot like webOS. The wireless setup gave me tons of trouble, but once I got it working I was fairly impressed with what it could do. I logged it in to her Google account and showed her how she could print documents in her Docs account without even touching her computer :)

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AKwyn replied on Fri, Sep 9 2011 7:19 PM

Well... I think that what HP is doing is somewhat stupid. I mean these are all moves taken because a new CEO has taken the board and well, he's trying to apply his skills to a huge computer business. I mean the PC business is still profitable enough that it's not a damaging part of HP and WebOS was not such a failure that they made like 2 more Palm Pre's. The lower prices even proved that people will buy WebOS tablets if the price is right, unfortunately; he didn't take that sign...

So I'm guessing the reason he's trying to focus more on the enterprise is because he thinks there's a load of cash in there and he thinks that HP would be a big provider in that market, seeing as how they already produce loads of software, technology, servers, etc. You name it! But the truth is that all of those other devisions listed that are supposed to be doing bad are still doing well and truth be told, their computers are not horrible, they're average; and this will turn out to be a bad business decision in the end. Still... The fact they're going to keep working on WebOS does give me some hope for HP and I do hope that they license it; it'd be a shame if they let such an acquisition like that go to waste.


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I think we need some more explaining HP, this is not a very good idea, since there calling it that. yea there phones were not that great, not horrible just always missing something. I have a pixi+, yea i know, it was free and a replacement of the crapy samsung thing before. Oh and good job on stopping right before we got the pre3... way to twist the knife in the hopes of what the WebOS phones were going to be... and BAM, nope the phones so inspired by and designed in California, USA... CANT EVEN GET THE THING... again the twisting of the knife keeps coming up... hum... also there goes buying an freaking HPTouchSmart in the future, or are they going to let the spin off take the HP name or Compaq or change it.... that's more info i think we deserve from HP... really they think they killed to birds with one idiotic rock...

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CDeeter replied on Sat, Sep 10 2011 11:57 AM

So PSG not leaving town, just moving out of HP's house, and into it's own apartment.

It might work. Depends on how it's setup.

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