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Hewlett-Packard Needs to Stop Selling Computers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The tech gods organized this recall, even if temporary, of the $279 Chromebook laptop Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) made for Google (GOOG - Get Report). They want HP out of the business of making computers because it's an artist formerly known as RIM-like embarrassment that they're still in it:

Laptops. Tablets. Potentially a smartphone. Printers. These things spell certain death.

HP's not a carbon copy of Kodak (KODK), but it's close enough. Same with any Blackberry (BBRY) comparison you're tempted to make.

Kodak, as Joe Deaux so perfectly chronicled this past summer for TheStreet, had the first digital camera. RIM previewed the notion of the smartphone with the original Blackberry. Neither company could see things through.

It's exactly the same situation at HP with one major exception: HP has got nothing. It doesn't have some great technology it can morph into a game changer. It doesn't have a device that predates Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. It's got nothing.

The sooner Meg Whitman realizes this, the better.

If Whitman's any kind of leader, she'll acknowledge that HP has nothing, take the void and turn it into something meaningful. That's a gargantuan task. But, given how often we're told Whitman is such a great leader and CEO, she should be up to it.

We laud Whitman because we consider the turnaround of something that already exists -- HP's largely pathetic business -- more likely than fresh success after tearing something apart and putting it back together again. If you think about it, this is quite a weak endorsement.

A great leader would look at Hewlett Packard, realize the current iteration has no chance of success against a company such as Apple and reject the same culture of obviousness that plagues most brick-and-mortar retailers. A great leader would earn her respect by undertaking a wholesale transformation of a dying business. She would reinvent Hewlett-Packard, turning it into something unrecognizable to itself.

But she won't. She will not take this Chromebook recall as a sign. Instead, she'll turn a blind eye, stubbornly forge ahead and fail miserably.

History will not take the time to distinguish Kodak from Blackberry and Blackberry from HP. And it shouldn't. It will just line HP up as another case study in corporate neglect and abject failure.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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