Should HP dump its PC business?

Credit: flickr/GoodNCrazy

HP, not really known for creating media feeding frenzies, has done it this week. They announced they will flush their TouchPad tablet and the WebOS that powers it, and talked about maybe dumping their PC business as well. Their PC business? Dump it like IBM did theirs in 2004? Absolutely. IBM got out of the low-margin PC business by selling it to Lenovo (a Chinese company), and thrived. HP, buying up service companies the past few years (EDS), including a $10 billion deal for Autonomy also announced this week, may go the same direction.

Printers will stay under the HP umbrella because they bring in tons of dough (well, their ink and toner sales brings in the dough). HP started the laser printer revolution when they wrapped a Canon engine with an HP LaserJet logo. They also created perhaps the largest reseller channel, and the largest retailing channel, when they bought out Compaq years ago.

Micheal Dell tweeted that "if HP spins off their PC business … maybe they will call it Compaq?" Clever, yes? Yes, and many share his ideas about what HP should do, or not do, with their PC business.

Big mistake from stupid company

HP wanting to rid itself of the PC line is a bit premature. Its not like PC's are going away. I guess maybe they feel that the PC lifespan is getting longer and profit margins are certainly not like Apple's.

jescott418 on pcmag.com

I personally think the loss of HP especially in the desktop market will be felt deeply by us Windows users. They were they only ones to produce aesthetically pleasing, well built machines.

OperaCreep on guardian.co.uk

Hurd bought Palm and immediately starved it of capital and top notch talent, just like he did with 3Com, EDS and his other mounted heads on the den wall. Hurd takes the first place prize for worst CEO, Carly is close behind him. But won't argue that Apotheker is trying hard to match them.

Jack Sheis on wsj.com

Worst CEO ever. Buying Palm was a mistake. Telegraphing to the world that the PC business will be spun-off to parts unknown is an even bigger mistake.

Jonathan Quick on wsj.com

Talk about shooting your self in the foot----this is it. Who will now buy ANY HP computer equipment not knowing if they'll even be able to buy a printer cartridge----or from whom. Look for a real drop in revenue and a loss at HP for the next several quarters.

William W. Gorman on wsj.com

Dump it now

Any high-tech venture should be looking for high returns. The returns on PC clone manufacture are less than 5%. You could earn better than that doing a spot of agriculture or loaning cash to struggling governments. HP has tolerated the low profits, because until now, it could at least point to the year on year growth. But the growth has stopped and its time to get off. It's a smart move.

Carniphage on guardian.co.uk

IBM shed PCs and has never looked back. PCs are a dead issue and soon the Tablet will become a cheap commodity.

Tony Friendly on wsj.com

Don't care about HP

Let's be honest here, HP has been run terribly for the past at least 5 years, probably more. I would never have bought a printer other than an HP years ago, now they are pretty much garbage. Sony, Asus, Samsung, and even Dell are putting out machines that do laps around anything HP.

commentorx on pcmag.com

Apple's secret? Good engineering and good construction. I don't even own any Macs but my girlfriend uses them and I can see they're well made. By contrast, my last two HP laptops were flimsy, the fans noisy and buzzing away due to poor construction, the screen housing has cracks, and EVERYONE I know who has HP laptops has had to both give up on the battery and replace the designed-to-fail power supply.

ClaireL22 on guardian.co.uk

I have some HP computers, and you probably do, too. Will HP getting out of the PC business help the traditional computer industry, or will PCs disappear as tablets take over?

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