One, death with the consumer often foretells death in the enterprise. Blackberry is, and soon Microsoft will be, the classic case studies in this phenomenon.
Two, why would anybody in their right mind even be excited about or have hope for HP's enterprise operations?
Start on Page 57 of HP's
most recent quarterly report
(it comes just after page after page after page of lawsuit disclosures) and find me a business line that didn't see a year-over-year revenue decrease and commentary from management that contains nothing other than excuses. There's no sign, in these official documents or in Meg Whitman's public statements, that the company is prepared to shift in any meaningful way to halt it unraveling.
Here's a seemingly comical rundown of what HP says on Page 63 of the aforementioned document:
In Personal Systems, we continue to be negatively impacted by the market shift towards tablet products within mobility, which has reduced the demand for consumer and notebook products.
In Printing, we are experiencing the impact of the growth in mobility, weak consumer demand, weak demand in EMEA and a competitive pricing environment.
Really! And, by the way, "the impact of the growth in mobility" and "weak demand" really should not be separated by the word "and." They're not separate phenomena; rather, one leads to the other. They're inextricably linked. And this ain't changing in any of our lifetimes.
In the Enterprise Group, we are experiencing revenue declines due to multiple market trends ... In Enterprise Services, we are facing market and macroeconomic pressures, a competitive pricing environment, internal execution challenges, and weak public sector spending ... In Software, we are facing multiple challenges, including the market shift to software-as-a-service and go-to-market execution challenges.
HP answers pretty much every one of its own admissions with something like "To be successful in addressing these challenges, we must execute on our multi-year turnaround plan, which includes ..." a whole bunch of hope and absolutely zero meaningful change.
Meg Whitman's a great leader all right! Her turnaround plan consists of sort of acknowledging external forces, completely blaming them and hoping in opposition to the sober reality that they absolutely will not change.
But Meg's savvier than we give her credit for. By embarking on "a multi-year turnaround" plan she instantly prolonged a CEO tenure that never should have started in the first place. If investors and the board at HP give her the full five years, they're more delusional than we give them credit for.
Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.