Top stories of 2011: The year in technology

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The HP Follies

The HP Follies: Apotheker's bungled restructuring

Barely a year into his tenure as Hewlett-Packard CEO, Leo Apotheker was ousted in September soon after announcing that the company would seek to spin off its $40 billion PC business, the largest in the world. Apotheker, who had been fired from SAP in February after the ERP maker fumbled its move to cloud technology, had little experience with hardware. Apotheker himself took up the reins at HP after the ouster of Mark Hurd, who resigned following an investigation into claims of sexual harrassment. After initially declaring that HP would go through with Apotheker's plan to sell the PC unit, newly appointed CEO Meg Whitman, the former chief executive at eBay, decided to hang on to it. HP now says PCs are key to long-term relationships with customers. The company faces other challenges. Net earnings for HP in its fourth quarter were $200 million, down from $2.5 billion in the same period last year, and Whitman herself said that Apple would probably overtake HP in the PC market next year, if iPad sales are included.

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