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5 Reasons Meg Whitman Can't Fix HP

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) are soaring as much as 10% today on rumors that the tech giant's board could be kicking Chief Executive Leo Apotheker to the curb. His replacement allegedly is former eBay (EBAY - Get Report) CEO Meg Whitman.

But don't be fooled -- this is just the latest dumb move at Hewlett-Packard, a stock plagued not just by a revolving door in the corner office but by a glue-and-sticky-tape approach to its current ugly state of affairs.

I won't bore you with a laundry list of HP missteps during the past few years -- they are many, and well-known. (I previously wrote an exhaustive column about how Hewlett-Packard embodies everything that's wrong with corporate America, for those who want an in-depth look at this dumpster fire of a company.)

That's all in the past. What is most troubling is that, after almost $30 billion in buyouts since 2008 ($10 billion for Autonomy + $1.2 billion for Palm + $2.7 billion for 3Par + $2.35 for 3Com + $13.6 billion for Electronic data systems), there is much more corporate shenanigans going on than there is growth to manage.

Also see: 5 Businesses That Will Suffer From a Post Office Overhaul

Meaning that even if you want to give Whitman the benefit of the doubt and grant her 100% credit for the success of eBay, the Hewlett-Packard mess is just too different a situation for her to be a good fit.

Here are five reasons Whitman won't be able to fix Hewlett-Packard:

No Corporate IT Experience: Whitman's tenure at eBay was fundamentally defined by connecting with consumers. Even the "sellers" on the auction site are largely average Joes and tiny out-of-the-garage businesses. Before that, she worked at Hasbro (HAS) to market Playskool and Mr. Potato Head. That's a far cry from cloud computing, tech support, networking hardware and bulk computer sales to Fortune 500 companies. On the plus side, her consumer focus might be able to help prop up HP printer and laptop sales -- with Hewlett-Packard killing its TouchPad tablet amid the Apple (AAPL) iPad craze and planning to spin off its PC business. It might make sense to appoint Meg Whitman CEO of this smaller consumer-focused division, but it makes no sense to appoint her now. She is ill suited for the very Big Business nature of corporate IT sales, which is HP's core business.
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