HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

Summary: HP is looking to 'spin off' its PC and tablet unit, rather than selling it outright, according to reports. Is it time to ignore most of what HP is saying?

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According to Reuters, HP would prefer to 'spin-off' as a separate company, rather than selling the company to a third-party, as the world's largest technology company is working to cook up options for its PC and tablet unit.

What HP will do with its PC and tablet unit -- known as the Personal Systems Group (PSG) -- has been subject to wide speculation.

Some of the many options HP could take including hiving off the business into a separate company, similar to how Motorola Mobility will act under Google, or sell off the entire unit to a third-party.

Yet, this is merely another addition to the pot of speculation. Attributable to a HP spokesperson or not, previous communiques have hardly proven to be true, or even seemingly sane.

It has been less than a fortnight since HP announced a new all-in-one PC, designed for the business and enterprise market, causing mixed-messages to run rife, only weeks after the company put webOS on the chopping block also.

A HP spokesperson told the news agency:

"We prefer a spin-off as a separate company and the working hypotheses is that a spin-off will be in the best interests of HP's shareholders, customers and employees. However, we have to complete the diligence process and validate this assumption, including fully understanding the dis-synergies in separating the PSG business from HP."

HP said that the whole process could take a year or longer, but "firm decisions" will be made before the end of the year.

Yeah, right.

As HP still retains, despite the month of horrors it has suffered of its own accord, the title of the world's largest PC maker.

But analysts are concerned that, as software needs hardware to run on, a "better leverage" of HP's footprint would make the company unstoppable.

Communicating the plans, since the initial news that the PC and tablet unit would be wound up, has frankly been terrible.

My four-year-old godson could have done a better job, and his prime method of communication is throwing custard across the dining table.

Dennis Howlett asked whether it was Bill Wohl's fault -- the company's chief communicator -- who this week was shifted from communications to a "special assignment" to realign the company's software operations into the wider picture.

Frankly, it seems that Wohl should have been the one communicating the plans rather than executives, who clearly made a complete hash of the whole thing when the news first broke earlier this month. Instead, they're putting Wohl out to pasture; a shame after many years of good service to the company.

That said, he did spell my name wrong when he apologised after attacking me on Twitter over something he thought I wrote, when in fact flames should've been pointed to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' direction. But he was probably tired after a stressful week.

I forgive you, Bill.

But the company is in trouble, and without firm plans for its PC and tablet unit, investors won't invest and shareholders will be tapping their feet in impatience. And this can no longer be brushed under the carpet from a fortnight ago, when the damage could have been repaired.

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Topics: Hardware, Hewlett-Packard

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28 comments
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  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    easy to cast dispersions. When you run a multi-billion dollar company, or hold a position as a communications officer in a large company, your opinions on this might hold a higher value. This sounds like a sports writer, who has never played baseball, telling a batter how he should fix his swing.
    tiderulz
    • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

      @tiderulz

      You don't need to be a meteorologist to see the damage left by a storm. When people are asking what to buy because "HP is going to stop making computers", and they're worried about support, it's a disaster. Sure, it's a small bit of hubris to think one can do better. Who doesn't. However, sitting amidst the fallout, it's genuinely hard to imagine anyone doing worse.
      tkejlboom
      • I certainly wouldn't buy an HP PC

        Not at this point in time.

        Will it be supported in 6 months?

        What about parts?

        What will they spin it off into?

        What about printers? Are they gonna dump those too?

        Too many questions. Too much uncertainty.
        ScorpioBlue
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    Dis-synergies? Is that what the kids are calling it now?<br><br>What would definitely be better for HP shareholders is if the company keeps its mouth shut, tallies up all the risks and rewards of alternative strategies, and then tells everyone when they know what they will commit to.<br><br>Disclaimer: I am not a CEO, thus by tiderulz rules, in no position to comment on HP's floundering. Disclaimer 2: "Floundering" is not a value neutral gerund and is totally, undeniably, and absolutely uncalled for.
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    Most of your articles are speculation with no fact. It would be good for ZDNet to fire their whole staff and get some real journalist here. I'm so close to deleting my ZDNet bookmark.
    NedRyerson
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    --
    NedRyerson
  • Message has been deleted.

    JakeMathews
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    <i>We prefer a spin-off as a separate company and the working hypotheses is that a spin-off will be in the best interests of HP?s shareholders, customers and employees</i>

    Translation: We need to get rid of this thing and there are no interested buyers.
    SlithyTove
    • Countin' the beans by bean-counter rules

      There's another potential translation: if we sell it, then the market value is known immediately and if there's a loss we would have to eat it this quarter or next. Whereas if we spin it off into a separate entity that is privately held (mostly or all by HP), then there is no known market value and we don't have to book a loss anytime soon.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

        @Robert Hahn

        Sounds about right.

        Correct thing for company: take the hit right now and pull the band-aids off at once.

        Correct thing for CEO paid on quarterly results: Hide all bad things long enough to get a paycheck and move on before the implosion.
        SlithyTove
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    Yes, let's just ignore them.
    Jeremy-UK
  • Incompetent leadership

    The biggest problem with HP is its incompetent leadership. #1 WebOS to compete with Microsoft, Apple and Google? What were they thinking? #2 Get rid of their PC division? They are #1 in sales...Hello? I mean the blunders they have made make no sense. Instead of looking #1 at the fact that at the heart of HP is NOT software company with a substantial 3rd party support system and #2 the PC division needs to focus on efficiencies to increase the profitability of it...I mean are the people at the top of HP really that dense? Too much of their heads were "in the cloud" to be pragmatic about what they needed to do...and still need to do.
    GeiselS
    • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

      @GeiselS@...

      <i>the PC division needs to focus on efficiencies to increase the profitability of it.</i>

      To be fair, "increasing efficiencies" in the modern PC manufacturing business is squeezing blood from a stone. Any company without laser focus on efficiency already is a long time dead.
      SlithyTove
      • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

        @SlithyTove

        HP mastered supply chain efficiencies. The problem is that they did nothing to bring anything new to the market. HP was like GM. When one focuses exclusively on cost reductions like that moron Hurd did, you eventually end up at "We lose money on every car, but gosh do we sell a lot of them!"
        tkejlboom
    • RE: Too much of their heads were &quot;in the cloud&quot;

      @GeiselS@...

      Actually I think their heads are somewhere else, commonly known as the place <i>where the sun does not shine.</i>
      fatman65536
      • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

        @fatman65536 Heh - definitely not Houston (he he)
        Willnott
  • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

    What Happens to the Compaq name? Trod in the dirt and forgotten?
    inkwell
    • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

      @inkwell Nah - should logically be part of entire IP folder handed to spinoff.... But then HP has already essentially killed any value in the Compaq name anyway - it's now associated with "entry level" as opposed to "performance".
      Willnott
  • Full Page Announcement...

    ... HP placed a full page announcement, stating all this, in the Orlando Sentinel, and most likely all major newspapers, this morning. Sounds serious, but no mention of the name of the "new" HP PC group.
    Fyrewerx
    • RE: HP 'prefers to spin off' PC unit: Should we just ignore what HP says?

      @escapepod

      It sounds like damage control to me. After effectively killing the business, they are trying to figure out how to keep some value in it.

      They don't need to talk about it. If they are going to spin it off, do so! The talking just looks like a lot of lies while they sell it.
      cuhulin1