MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP has just announced that it will shed 27,000 employees over the next two years, and for some reason this brings to mind a number of the company's other major missteps and disasters over the years.
Here's our list of what we think have been HP's most notable stumbles and scandals over a period of more than 10 years.
10. Going down with the Itanic
HP's decision to transition away from its own PA-Risc processor chips and jump into bed with Intel on developing the Itanium processor architecture has resulted in what has become one of the most embarrassing stories for both firms involved.
Intel's Itanium chip was promoted as a next generation architecture that would pave the way for future processors but instead it became mired in performance and cost problems. HP was burdened with a chip that it sank countless millions into while software vendors left it for dead.
HP has been left to defend Itanium by suing Oracle after it dropped support for the chip, with documents showing that even Intel is desperate to get out of its contract with HP to develop Itanium and concentrate on its Xeon processors.
For HP, Itanium signifies two lost decades in the mission-critical market with a processor that simply hasn't delivered anything close to what was originally planned.
9. Hiring Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina was hired as CEO by HP back in 1999 and quickly ruffled feathers at the firm. HP had a reputation for being a more relaxed environment compared to other major corporations, and one focused on R&D, filtered through the company by the ethos of its co-founders William Hewlett and David Packard.
Fiorina was from a sales and marketing background, and was more about pushing the message and vision than getting down to the details of technology development, operations and innovation.
Fiorina's reign at HP was an unhappy one. Her self-promoting and autocratic style along with her purchase of Compaq followed by waves of abrupt cost cutting and employee layoffs made her quite unpopular throughout the company. When it came out that the firm bought her another corporate jet after it already had a couple in its hangars, she became a figure of ridicule at HP.
By 2005, HP had had enough and gave Fiorina the boot, six years too late from the point of view of many in the IT industry.
8. Buying Compaq
The beginning of the end for Fiorina came when she forced through the buyout of rival PC giant Compaq in 2002 against the wishes of some very vocal and important shareholders such as Walter Hewlett, son of co-founder William Hewlett. The PC business was a low margin operation even a decade ago, so throwing more investment into operations in that market wasn't the wisest move, as HP's financial results have highlighted this past week.
HP's merger with Compaq was widely viewed in the industry as simply buying market share while eliminating a competitor, but ultimately it did little or nothing to improve HP's financial results.
7. Dumping Hewlett and Packard from its name
For years anyone could choose to refer to HP as either HP or by its fuller title, Hewlett Packard. But ten years ago it took the "ewlett" and "ackard" out of its moniker to become just "HP".
The move was all about presenting a more forward looking firm, one that was ready to move away from its past, but in the UK it had a much more shattering impact. Some people were confused by this new HP and were left wondering why a firm so well known for its brown sauce was now offering to print their documents and keep their desks warm.
6. Losing its HP Way
It is not often that you associate a company with anything good, but HP, with its egalitarian, ethical and enthusiastic HP Way, which had always nurtured people and their skills, came pretty close.
But the HP Way met a boot in 2006 when Randy Mott started making noises about changes that he thought were necessary for the firm. His plan was to cut costs, meaning employees, and that is a mantra that's surfaced repeatedly at the firm ever since. Just yesterday HP said that it will shed some 27,000 people, including its newly acquired Autonomy CEO, Mike Lynch, like so much water off a duck.
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