In a move that strengthens ties between the company and failed Republican politicians, HP has brought in Meg Whitman as the new CEO, replacing the recently dismissed Léo Apotheker. Whitman takes over a company that is in an extreme state of flux – before his sudden removal, Apotheker announced that HP would look into spinning off or selling its PC arm to focus directly on business services and enterprise software. So, naturally, with his ouster, Whitman is going to come in with sweeping changes that will break from the suddenly unwanted old CEO’s vision.
Except not. HP, under Whitman, will reportedly stay the course, going through with its purchase of Autonomy, a UK-based enterprise software company that focuses on ‘smart’ search engine processing. Whitman has stated she will continue to look into shuttling off the PC arm, which is something of a non-committal answer. It’s starting to look pretty bad for the old technology giant, now with its fourth different CEO in seven years, falling behind in the PC market, and entering a market where it has very little experience. Disappointment also lingers over the company’s decision to discontinue WebOS devices, making HP’s purchase of Palm a huge loss, in terms of money and reputation.
There’s also a little concern about Whitman’s experience in the new enterprise service direction HP is taking. Specifically, her experience there is a lot like her voting record – almost non-existent. She had a pretty golden track record at consumer-driven eBay, though, so we’ll see how that pans out for her. If HP wanted a strong authority figure, there’s no doubt they got it. Now, they just need her to figure out what, exactly, HP even is now. Otherwise, she might find herself next in the line of fallen HP CEOs. And, thanks to a couple of dirty words, I’m not thinking she’s going to be able to fall back on politics, either.