Fortune on why Fiorina's big bet is failing

In a lengthy article Carol Loomis of Fortune [sub required] dissects HP. It's not a pretty picture of Fiorina or HP...

In a lengthy article Carol Loomis of Fortune [sub required] dissects HP. It's not a pretty picture of Fiorina or HP...

In the midst of all the competitive pressures bearing down on her, and in the struggle of managing the unwieldy company she created, Carly Fiorina sometimes talks as if she sees a vision all her own. She hauls it out in the opening lines of internal speeches, articulating her goal of making HP "the world's leading technology company." The ambition is a curiosity rouser because it implies that she has firmly in mind what company right now holds that title. But that turns out not to be true. There isn't any one company that fits the bill, she says. It could be IBM one place and some other company elsewhere.

But then, you wonder, if she doesn't know who the leader is now, how would she know whom HP has to pass and when to claim victory? Oh, well, classify this as one of those aspirational themes that Fiorina wafts skyward now and then. The utility of the idea seems small, anyway: Whatever it is, HP is not right now close to being the world's leading technology company.


Loomis makes a clinical case that the merger with Compaq is a dud, with the end result of HP giving 37 percent of its highly profitable printing and imaging business to Compaq shareholders and getting little in return. Fiorina must be fuming, thinking she can't catch a break from the press or analysts. After all, she runs an $80 billion company that has some market-leading positions. But, it's not about catching breaks as much as meeting expectations, and she is falling short based on the numbers. It's unlikely anyone could have met the expectations set post-merger, but this is the year in which HP has to demonstrate that it exemplifies the agility, adaptability and partnering capabilities that Fiorina likes to talk about when describing HP's vision for the future of IT. Just like the CxOs who are HP's customers, Fiorina is measured on her ability to deliver on profits and growth, not "aspirational themes"...


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