HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Posted on 01 Nov 2015 in at-work

Today mark one of the biggest event in tech industry: the split of HP as we know it into HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The event is so big that it probably only rivalled by the merger of HP and Compaq back in 2001.

And today, as the company start to operate as 2 different entity, also one of my saddest day. Being part of the company during its glory days as it recover from 2001 dot com bust, I can’t help to think and reflect my 8 years tenure of then a great company.

I started HP in late 2000, only 1 year after I graduated. HP back then was a different company. We embrace risk, and encourage innovation to meet customer needs, and focussed to get the job delivered to customer. Even and after Compaq merger happened, things were pretty much the same.

For most analyst, HP downfall started when HP decided to buy Compaq. But for me, it is all started when Mark Hurd took the helms. The reason is simple: aggresive cost cutting has hurt HP innovation. As Apple evolve PC market into mobile, and as Amazon and Google innovate Data Centers into Cloud, HP was busy making sure that the bottom line is in order, without any concrete plan to evolve the top line.

I wrote once that you can only skimp so much before you get sick. Even as a company. And HP fell sick during Mark Hurd’s tenure.

Then I left HP during Mark Hurd’s tenure. Watching HP from outside is even more a sad story. HP continue to starve for innovation, yet getting wrong medicine by acquiring companies. To see HP buy Palm as futile attempt to get into mobile market, only to kill it later. And having Leo Apotheker’s limbo leadership that make HP downfall even faster. Admit it, having 3 CEO in 1 year is not a good sign for a company.

I was hoping that someday I will get the chance to turn HP over, to come back as former employee who still live and breath the HP Way. Not as a CEO, but maybe a practice lead. But I think the hope is gone, since the company is now split into 2.

So, what is my hope for the new companies?

I certainly hope that HP Inc will be able to maintain its leadership in printing and imaging business. To evolve to 3D printing maybe? I certainly hope that the company will embrace The HP Way, to promote innovation, to embrace risk. Besides, it is what left from HP that I knew.

As for HP Enterprise, to be honest, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I guess, and I really hope that I’m wrong, the company will be split further, or sold and merged to other company.