back to article HP shareholders bay for blood in $19 BEELLION writedown aftermath

Hewlett-Packard investors are rearing up against Meg Whitman’s board, demanding senior heads roll over several multi-billion-dollar failed acquisitions, including HP's 2011 $11bn buy of Brit software company Autonomy - which it wrote down to the tune of $8.8bn late last year. The Autonomy writedown at the tail-end of 2012 was …

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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Gotta Agree

    HP's lax and overly tolerant board is one of the reasons they are in the mess they are in.

    Someone has to take responsibility for their shocking CEO choices in the last few years.

    About the only company worse than HP at choosing CEO's is Nokia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gotta Agree

      How do these morons even exist in such a role?

      My dog could have made a better job of it.

      loosing close to 20bn?? I'm surprised they've not just been shot.

      1. dogged
        FAIL

        Re: Gotta Agree

        "loosing".

        AC dismissed as imbecile.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gotta Agree

          Loosing ?

          Is that some sort of bowel problem ?

          1. Fatman

            Re: Loosing ? Is that some sort of bowel problem ?

            It most certainly is!

            He is expressing his opinion of HP in some rather pointed terms, "HP's board is full of shit".

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Fatman
      FAIL

      Re: M&A cash machines

      BINGO!!!

      Spot on!!!!

      It's like, "let's see, who can we gobble up with shareholders cash how can we piss away shareholder value, and make ourselves rich."

  3. Magister
    Flame

    Not a shareholder

    But if I were, I would be pretty pissed off right now. To have to write off that amount of money in such a short space of time is absolutely unforgivable and indicates that the senior managment are not doing their jobs correctly.

  4. Justin Stringfellow
    Unhappy

    explains the cost of HP toner

    now I know why it's hundreds of quid for a small boxes of coloured dust... so HP can buy lame donkeys.

  5. Shagbag
    Mushroom

    Holy Crap

    EDS

    Palm

    Autonomy

    Touchpad

    WebOS

    ...the company is slowly disappearing down the shitter.

    (Nuke because there isn't an avatar for something imploding).

  6. Homer 1
    Holmes

    Symptomatic of a bigger problem

    HP may or may not have management and/or boardroom problems, but surely the biggest problem for PC vendors is the PC itself, which is rapidly becoming obsolete.

    Under the circumstances, there's not a lot HP could have done differently, at least in the PC market.

    Really the only mistake HP (and Dell and others) made was they failed to diversify away from the PC market earlier, stubbornly clinging to the PC for some mysterious reason (which I'd guess had more than a little to do with coercion from Microsoft). Well, look where that got them.

    I like HP for many reasons, but this isn't one of them. Unfortunately they deserve to fail, and fail they shall.

    1. hungee

      Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

      Homer1 -"Really the only mistake HP (and Dell and others) made was they failed to diversify away from the PC market earlier, stubbornly clinging to the PC for some mysterious reason (which I'd guess had more than a little to do with coercion from Microsoft). Well, look where that got them."

      You do realise that PCs will be around for many years to come right? If you want to get serious work done there are only two viable OSs and no others on the horizon. Add to that Apple's stubborn insistence to ONLY target the super premium market means that there will always be a space for companies like HP to sell their business wares.

      What we are seeing is the collapse in the consumer PC market which will stabilise because there is a limit to what mobile computing can accomplish. All up though a lot of these companies are seeing their net worth decrease on the back of much depleted futures earnings. No CEO wants to be in charge when that happens.

      As for autonomy et al. It seems pretty clear the Meg Whitman is uncovering some dodgy shit from the previous cadre of CEOs and board members who were... Not well equipped for the post iPad era. Grasping at straws is another way of saying it. I just wished they could refocuse on building a decent tablet.

      1. hungee
        Happy

        Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

        Correction: two major OSs and a host of Linux ones... Which all run on x64 either which way

      2. The Godfather
        Happy

        Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

        Overall, your assessment is largely correct. The collapse of PC's in the consumer market has been evident for at least 3 years or more but the assumption these will always be prevalent in a corporate environment, may be misplaced. Indeed if they do remain, they'll arguably largely be built by Lenovo.

        It's all to easy to uncover shit from previous regimes and no doubt in future years, more shit will be uncovered on those now in command. The single biggest failing of businesses like HP is clinging to a belief and dogma that says 'we don't have to change'

      3. ManOnTheHill

        Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

        Let's not forget that Meg was part of the board that approved the Autonomy acquisition, so she's got blood on her hands too. Seems only right to me that all of the board and upper management that had any approval say in the acquisition of these companys should pay the price for their failures - after all, they were more than ready to revel in how wonderful they were if they had been successful (and take more than their share of the profits from that success).

        1. ToddRundgren

          Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

          Quite right Meg Whitman should get back in the kitchen

      4. Homer 1
        Headmaster

        Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

        The "serious work" mantra assumes ARM devices will always be 32-bit, low-clock-speed, low memory machines running purely consumer-centric applications and games on a touch-oriented OS, but all of those factors have already improved, and will only continue to do so. There are already ARM servers in data centres, for example, and "desktop" ARM devices (ChromeOS and Ubuntu).

        Moreover, no matter how you personally regard the suitability of ARM devices for certain tasks, which you prioritise higher than others, the fact remains that the market has spoken, and it wants ARM + Android, whether or not you agree with them. Apparently they don't share your priorities, which is why the "desktop" PC market (a euphemism for Windows on x86) is in decline, like it or not.

        And even in the interim, while ARM technology is still maturing, it's already more than good enough for the majority of use cases, both at home and at work, which again is exactly why the market has shifted in that direction. If it weren't already good enough, then nobody would be buying it, obviously, so arguing about whether or not you personally think it's good enough is moot.

        Eventually ARM (or something similar) will entirely replace the current de facto standard, which will then be relegated to legacy status (if it hasn't done so already). Cling to that if you want to, but personally I'd rather embrace the future.

    2. ToddRundgren
      Flame

      Re: Symptomatic of a bigger problem

      @Homer1

      The decline of the PC hardly justifies dumb aquisitions, does it?

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    Que?

    ".....Hammergren, a CEO of US healthcare services giant McKesson Corporation...." I'm pretty sure McKesson were being used as an hp case study, IIRC. If he's the director I'm thinking of (http://www.forbes.com/profile/john-hammergren/) I think he was listed as the US's highest paid CEO back in 2011, so I doubt he'll cry too much if he has to lose his part-time hp jaunt. I assume CtW investment Group has something against him as he would seem a succesful CEO in the health industry, surely a target industry for hp....?

    As for Ken Thompson, wasn't he head of Wachovia when it all went pear-shaped? If so then not much of a loss IMHO, certainly less successful than Hammergren.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late now bitches - HP Execs already got PAID!

    "Altogether it spent a total of $26bn on the three firms and wrote off $19bn in all."

    Gross incompetency, yet the 1% continue to roll in huge payoffs and annual bonuses.

    Now get back to your cube, you proles, and be glad for your jobs......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pfft

    HP can die in a bucket of liquidised crows, for all I care. Anyone who region locks *ink carts* needs to fuck off:

    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en&docname=c02558798

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pfft

      Thanks for that link. I gave up on my HP printer last year when barely used carts 'expired' on me. Another reason not to buy them.

  10. PeterM42
    Thumb Down

    HP started going down the pan.......

    .....after making the LaserJet 4. Nothing good since then.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Miss Lincolnshire
    Thumb Up

    If the HP Board is interested.......

    .......I have some magic beans for sale. $3Bn a bag, guaranteed profit makers, honest.

    Call me, Yah?

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