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TheStreet Open House

The Only Way HP, Dell and RIM Can Survive

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Last month, I chided a lack of innovation in tech, targeting the poster child for the status quo in Meg Whitman and HP: Everything That Is Wrong With Tech.

You know you struck a chord when multiple people, independent of one another, email to say, "Thanks for having the guts to finally call out Whitman." Apparently, I am not the only one who doesn't believe the hype.

In the above-linked article, I came down on Whitman's comment that Hewlett Packard (HPQ) just needs to be in the smartphone space. How novel.

Now comes official word that HP will take another stab at the tablet market with an enterprise version running Windows 8. TheStreet's James Rogers tells us that HP will step up efforts in the software and services area. Best of luck competing with Cisco Systems (CSCO) and IBM (IBM).

That's really what it comes down to. Whitman and, by association, HP have no business competing with Cisco, IBM and Apple (AAPL). Didn't HP, and its equally-as-inept counterpart Dell (DELL) learn anything from Research in Motion (RIMM)?

Let's consider the lessons RIM taught us.

First, own up to getting your hind end handed to you by Apple. RIM did this -- though not explicitly -- but about two years too late. HP sort of has. In fact, Whitman came closer to doing what a company in an entirely different space did.

Domino's Pizza (DPZ), like Whitman, told the world, in no uncertain terms, we stink. What we have been doing hasn't been working. Our customers and the general public deserve a much better effort. From there, CEO Patrick Doyle led a refreshingly honest and innovative wholesale transformation of the company. That segues into point two.

RIM taught us that after you admit defeat or, at the very least, no longer have the will to fight, you need to make major changes. Of course, RIM did not do this. It has basically decided it will chart the same strategy that failed under a new boss, who is, for all intent and purposes, same as the old boss.

While HP might be doing some things different internally, they're not doing anything that we haven't seen before or is an invigorating take on what already exists. HP did not bring in a leader who is capable of enacting such radical change.

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