back to article HPE sharpening the axe for 5,000 heads – report

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is about to release the trap door again with 5,000 employees, or almost 10 per cent of its workforce, expected to fall through it. The redundancies, first reported by Bloomberg, are part of the HPE Next initiative that CEO Meg Whitman hatched in June, a radical programme – the latest in a long line …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward

    HP is not the company it once were - expect deteriorating quality and poorer products.

    All par for the course.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      All 3par for the course.

      Fixed that for you...

      1. Mpeler

        A Faustian deal, no doubt

        Nit Whitman uses her only tool, once again.

        Shades of Carly firing 120 percent of HP's (then) workforce.

        Any more I think Bill and Dave would rather HPE (and the rest of the shards) disappear. Goodness knows, ever since Carly ripped their full (last) names off the Company Logo, replacing them with the insipid "Invent" [that's what we DO Carly, in case you didn't notice], the company's been splitting and crumbling into ever smaller, irrelevant pieces.

        H undreds of

        P ieces...

        1. rdhood

          Re: A Faustian deal, no doubt

          " replacing them with the insipid "Invent" [that's what we DO Carly, in case you didn't notice],"

          HP forgot that about 20 years ago. The cash cows have ruled until they can no longer give milk.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A Faustian deal, no doubt

          Can you hear that exceptionally high-pitched whistling sound?

          It's Bill Heweltt and Dave Packard spinning in their graves.

          It's an absolute travesty what a succession of CEO's and other 'Managers' have done to the legacy of these Silicon Valley pioneers over the past few years.

    2. Alain

      Agreed. But they've already lost all credibility in the high-availability ops sector.

      The Itanium-based Integrity server line is reaching its end of life. They were neat machines but the world just has turned its back to anything non-x86. Now HPE will be just another Wintel or Linux box pusher, with very little extra value, if any.

      Their customer services has gone down the drain. I really feel like I'm speaking to the same people in Africa when I call for our HP-UX mission-critical clusters as Joe User talks to for his laptop.

      No local folks to talk to anymore. Pre-sale support is a joke.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The question you should ask is - why are you still on HP-UX? The platform is from the previous century and all you're doing is wasting your company's money by not migrating to software-scalable alternative platforms.

        And no, your applications aren't special :)

        1. Alain

          @AC "your apps aren't special"

          Yes, they are. Like many people's

          Unfortunately in the real world (probably quite far away from yours) people have to run legacy apps compiled for HPPA no one want to port to Linux or even recompile for Itanium because it costs too much money. The HP IA-64 boxes were a great way to move them effortlessly to modern platforms in containers, with good perfs.

          HP-UX probably carries no more legacy old school code than Windows does, or even Linux for that matter.

          To me, any Unix with good clustering and container support, a LVM that's almost exactly the same as the one you'll find on your Linux box serves my purpose and I see no reason to call it archaic.

          I'm not in especially in love with proprietary Unices, but HP-UX did the job rightly. I will regret it.

          Furthermore, that's off-topic regarding my post. HP will probably be just as bad supporting mission-critical high-end Linux boxes anyway. That was my point.

          1. TheVogon

            Re: @AC "your apps aren't special"

            "HP-UX probably carries no more legacy old school code than Windows does, or even Linux for that matter."

            Well it has had way fewer security vulnerabilities than say Solaris or Linux!

            I'm sure the majority of people running "midrange" systems would love to move to Wintel / Lintel, but often the cost, effort and perceived risk is lower to sit on what they have and pay the support fees than to rewrite and migrate. I can't see many people choosing HP-UX in greenfield, but then I would say the same of Solaris and AIX. The main use cases are very large single system image and applications that are designed to scale up and not scale out. I would hope that everyone these days is writing for scale out when possible, but sometimes that's not an option...

            For me these days for small / medium / DB as a service feature rich databases it would be SQL server as primary choice where I needed enterprise support / scalability and failover fault tolerance - and only if I absolutely had to have RAC (live cluster failover with zero downtime) then I would reluctantly choose Oracle too.

            If my needs were less enterprisey or I had specific use requirements (for example web / digital not based on .Net) then many other choices are available - PostGres, MongoDB, MySQL etc. A few choices I would be very reluctant to use are Amazon Dynamo DB and Redhshift, Google Datastore, and Azure Cosmos DB and Document DB - because what happens if you want to run on premise? Move to another cloud? At least if you run managed versions of any of the other choices above you can still move relatively easily....If you are locked in then your provider might one day turn into the next Oracle and sweat their prisoners! Yes a specific product is still a lock in ,but at least if it's not in the cloud you can choose if you pay for support and choose what platform to run it on...

  2. TonyJ

    Circling that drain.

    That woman won't be happy until she's finished off what was once a stunning company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: that woman

      And then she'll run for President..

      Another 10,000? I would have thought that there was hardly that number left? I guess that those who are left are the dregs who can't get a job elsewhere or they would have gone years ago. I did (pre Meg) and didn't look back.

      will she cull the senior managememt so that its number reflects the new size and shape of the company?

      No, I'm not joking. Soon all that will be left will be Meg and her corner office cronies.

    2. Doctor Huh?

      Circling the drain

      "That woman won't be happy until she's finished off what was once a stunning company."

      Oh, Whitman can't take all the credit, Multiple generations of managerial incompetence had to combine to put HPE in its current position. I'd like to blame Carly Fiorina for starting the slide, but it was in progress before she wandered along. She did stomp the accelerator, though.

      Thank God her campaign for President went nowhere, as her sole reason for running seemed to be that the problem with Mitt Romney's bid for the office as a "successful business-person" was the "successful" part. She may have been right, though -- we seem to have a richer, but far less successful business-person in the office now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That woman won't be happy until she's finished off what was once a stunning company.

    She already has. I wouldn't do business with HP, HPE, DXC, they're all unified by the same PHB culture, the same obsession with offshoring, and the same tragic idea that if they cuts costs far enough, they'll be profitable without selling anything. That was an idea that appeared in a Dilbert cartoon of 6 January 1994. Unfortunately the HP board of the time thought that Scott Adams was a management guru, and the Dilbert books became core management training for the company's "talent pool", with the consequences we now see, of the remaining value drain off the balance sheet until there's nothing left. But that'll take a while yet, so maybe Meg can lift that 100,000 pink slips to 150,000?.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      That Dilbert is wonderful. Clicky

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

    All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to everything

    She is useless as a CEO and I dont understand why the board has not fired here. Short terms goals in cost reduction to keep share price up.

    She should have got the job at Uber, that company is already a mess so she would have been great at making it worse.

    1. 8Ace

      Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

      Pretty much sums up a lot of current high level management. there is very little business acumen to be found now and everything is short term gain. If these people can make the numbers look good, then their bonuses are all they care about. never mind selling more as that's too difficult. Dipping into the pockets of employees by cuts to wages or staff is easy money. And when it all comes to a point where the best people have gone, and the company is going down the tubes, take the golden goodbye payment and off to the next victim.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

        While a lot of high-level management doesn't really manage, Meg Whitman - along with Carly Fiorina - has perfected the craft of actually reducing the value of a corporation while making herself look good by firing people, lifting the balance sheet temporarily while she gets out of town with a big bonus.

        What I don't understand is why stockholders of HP got taken twice. I mean, even Republican primary voters were smart enough to see Fiorina was even worse than Trump, but HP went and hired Whitman - Fiorina's clone!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

          Disagree on both counts.

          Fiorina was not worse than Trump: she at least is a rational person - albeit a horrible one when it comes to social policy - and would have hired a senior cabinet of people qualified for their roles.

          I don't see Whitman as a clone of Fiorina. She was handed a falling knife and is trying to catch it. Adding technology IP, removing stale IP and reorganising the staff as this takes place is all part and parcel of a corporate restructuring process.

          She's effectively redesigning the commercial jet mid-flight. Please ignore the workers outside the window and enjoy your in-flight movie.

          1. Anonymous Crowbar

            Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

            Hi Meg!

          2. thomn8r

            Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

            She's effectively redesigning the commercial jet mid-flight.

            She's effectively selling off the pieces of the commercial jet mid-flight, hoping that by removing the engines, wings, and landing gear it will stop losing altitude.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: All Meg has done is get rid of people, her answer to eveyrthing

              <troll> which of the three you mention would be Data Protector? </troll>


            Adding technology IP!

            Adding technology IP from Bangalore? or maybe fresh grads from Eastern Europe who can barely speak English. No. It's about cutting cost to stay profitable in the short term. The future of the business and the quality of the products and services are going to be someone else's problem after she's long gone with a $300 million package.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5000 is just the admin overhead

    The must have 5000 PAs doing nothing but approving travel requests. Make it so you don't need 6 levels of approval for a 100 quid flight and that's your saving in one easy go.

  6. Salestard

    As previously explained

    HP/HPE has a cost problem not because it has too many people, but because it doesn't sell enough flashylightboxes. I've been in US megacorps when not enough things are sold. It gets real political real quick.

    That's when the wheels fall off completely - middle and upper management spending their time fighting themselves, whilst the lower orders and customers drift away. Thus begins the ever decreasing circle of carnage, redundancies, and blaming.

    Zero sum game; once you've started throwing your people under the cost cutting bus, the only actual result is that you'll run out of people, and people are what you need to make money.

    The only firm I've ever seen (and indeed been part of) that's ever been able to weather this sort of self generated storm is IBM, and that's mostly because vast sections of the business community will mindlessly buy big blue regardless of cost, actual ability, or common sense.

    1. Lysenko

      Re: As previously explained

      To be fair (!?) a lot of the short termism is down to shareholders or, more accurately, the City and the vampire squid and it's ilk.

      "I don't want to discuss the next quarter share price. I'm not even interested in next year. I want to focus on what products we'll be shipping in the decade from 2020 and the investments we need to make today to ensure success."

      ... three sentence CEO professional suicide note.

  7. Nick Z

    Good reason to stay away from the IT industry

    This kind of large layoffs coupled with reports of widespread age discrimination in the IT industry is probably enough to discourage many people from going into the IT industry.

    Because nobody stays young forever. And if you get laid off in your 40s or 50s, then you might not find another job.

    Perhaps men don't have much of a choice. The same thing happens in many other industries too.

    But women have some better choices, such as Nursing for example. Nurses don't have massive layoffs. Their employment is more secure, even when they get older.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good reason to stay away from the IT industry

      Wow, how sexist is that, nursing is only open to women. Also perhaps you haven’t noticed but in the UK nurses have had 7 years of real term pay cuts, and earnest less than IT to begin with.

  8. Rajiv_Chaudri

    Look at all these sexist Misogynists hating on Meg Whitman, who has proven herself to be one of the greatest Technology CEOs of our time.

    1. Laura Kerr

      You forgot to include the icon -------------->

      It's nothing to do with misogyny and everything to do with incompetence.

      1. dedmonst

        >> It's nothing to do with misogyny and everything to do with incompetence.

        >> But women have some better choices, such as Nursing for example.

        if it quacks like a duck...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're either a troll or an idiot. A "tridiot" perhaps?

      Without even breaking a sweat you could come up with a top ten or top twenty best Technology CEOs of all time. Whitman wouldn't make the list. Not even close.

  9. Roo Stercogburn

    Won't be middle management

    As usual they'll get rid of the people that actually do the work. The middle management layer will shovel it all downhill and the flocks of useless project managers will remain at their posts, vying for the time of the few remaining engineers, then trying to shore it up with contractors while all the domain knowledge for the work they are doing gets flushed down the P45 toilet.

  10. trevorde Silver badge

    Beatings will continue...

    ... until moral improves

    1. DNTP

      Re: Firing engineers and support techs will continue...

      ...until product engineering and customer satisfaction improves.

  11. Egghead & Boffin

    plummeting morale

    I have friends who work there, and many more that used to. If you wanted to find the level of morale in those companies you would need a deep well drilling team and to go down at least 10,00 feet below sea level. Productivity has dropped dramatically because morale has sunk out of sight. Most people any good have already gone to other jobs.the good ones always volunteer for these programs first because they're the ones confident of finding something easily.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HPE EMEA has been pounded with cuts and attrition since last year. Very few news outlets even bothered to report it and Meg certainly didn't warn or assure us. This latest rumour appears to affect US jobs so there is more concern in the air.

  13. a_yank_lurker


    This is a suicide by a thousand paper cuts. They will disappear as the carcass eventually gets picked over for a few meager scraps.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not enough

    5000 heads still isnt a deep enough cull for a company full of lifers, riding out massive paycheques and building their pension pots doing pretty much sweet FA except for politicking and engaging in sales prevention behaviour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not enough

      You have demonstrated your complete ignorance of the situation that the coal-face workers face in HPE today. You sir, are a fcuking idiot.

  15. JBird

    Change hurts, but....

    Complete disclosure, I am foot soldier here at HPE. I think it is too easy when we lay all the problems and blame at the feet of the CEO. We do that all the time and I have seen this movie before. "Its Mark Hurd's fault, its Sam Palmisano's fault, or Lou Gerstner, or Ginni Rometty, ect.,ect. In some cases you could point the finger of blame squarely on a CEO as some have made TERRIBLE decisions that left you scratching your head wondering how these people came into running multi-billion dollar IT outfits when they can barely operate a cell phone. However, in this case I think the real drive is the industry itself and we are witnessing the collective reaction of all large IT companies. Show me one that is the same as it was just five years ago. The real change that has all big outfits freaking out, is this movement away from separate compute, storage and networking run by specialists, to a world where all that is run by generalists at software defined speeds and petabyte scale. This has been coming for a long time and we all know it. Don't believe me? Where is EMC? They saw this coming and realized there was NO WAY they could innovate their way ahead of it. My point is this new world is tearing down the traditional departments that we have all worked in for years and we are watching this real time. Who will win and who will lose? Don't know, but I like our odds (assuming I still have a gig at the end of this! :/

    1. rdhood

      Re: Change hurts, but....

      its an interesting perspective. I have had a similar perspective for a long time. My dad worked for

      Burroughs when they were #2. And Digital when they were #2. I worked for HP when they were #2. Are we starting to see a pattern? IT companies that depend on self made software/hardware can , for a time, strike gold. They rarely strike gold again. What's innovative at Microsoft?? Apple??

      It is really sad to see it happen to HP. They have a legacy that none of those companies come close to... like the Woolworths or the Sears of a bygone era. Getting big was the end of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Change hurts, but....

      The entire (yes all of them) product leadership team (VP down through Director) of Ric Lewis's Software Defined and Cloud group quit over a 12 month period and Compaq lifers have been cycled in to replace them....that will end well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Change hurts, but....

      As a CEO, your job is to look to the future for your company whilst retaining corporate shareholder value. What has happened at HP (and IBM) is that absolutely NO-ONE in their business either spotted or made a case for cloud. They stuck (and continue to stick) their heads in the sand singing la la la and hoping it all goes away. How many strategists are employed by these companies?? MS went from a SW business to a HW business in a couple of years proving it is possible to change.

  16. YARR

    Contrary to perceived wisdom in the industry – that software and cloud services are the best paths to make money – Whitman has largely fashioned a bigger hardware business

    Someone has to.

    If your hardware company becomes too big to fail, then profitable companies that depend on your hardware might have to bail you out.

    1. rdhood

      which hardware company has ever been too big to fail?

  17. mako23

    There's no money in Hardware at present and it's unlikely to be much change in the foreseeable future. I sadly don't see any other possible alternative action for this company. I must say I feel very sorry for the employees that lose their job.

  18. Howard Hanek

    Meg Whitman

    .....I could have sworn I saw Meg Whitman in a neolithic cave painting in France being burned at the stake surrounded by 5,000 or so club wielding, stone throwing people........

    No. I'm sure she wasn't running for President.

  19. DaveMellor

    It's just sad that people who are paid so much money can only offer a solution that involves inflicting misery on so many talented people.

    But what incompetent got them to this place? And how much did they get?

    Captains of industry my arse.

  20. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    It's all about income equality

    Wage inequality is very embarrassing - so the solution is to get rid of all the cheap workers, replacing them with robots - this will reduce wage inequality and the company will look much better. When all you have is upper management there's much less wage inequality.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Komrade Meg

    Meg is a closet socialist running the world's greatest redistribution programme ever.

    I got just over £81,000. I'm not unique. How much has she spread to the other 99,999?

    Socialism in action

  22. JeffyPoooh

    Start with the folks that design HP branded laptops...

    "Friends don't let friends buy HP laptops."

    Strangely, the HP branded desktops seem to be fine.

    Their lamp-stabilized Wein bridge oscillators are pretty nice too,

  23. sniperpaddy

    Time for the classic Rowing team joke

  24. HurdImpropriety

    Seat Sensors

    HP doing what HP does best. So Meg, the seat sensors at the HP Marlborough facility really were about studying real estate usage, right? Closed that huge facility down faster than you taking your golden parachute...even though you said that CEOs will no longer get golden parachutes. Another executive stool....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's a pretty sad indictment of life when you read the opening few lines to learn that, apart from selling off most of the company, MW has fired over 100,000 people so far. 100,000....staggering.

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