Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hewlett-Packard Drops Android: What the?

Posted by OurTech Team | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Category: |

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ - News) is burning its Little Black Book of hookups and contacts. First, the company said bye-bye to Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO - News) in no uncertain terms. OK, that one makes sense. But now, HP is cutting seemingly stable ties to both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG - News) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - News). Is HP hell-bent on standing alone?
Former Palm CEO and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL - News) wunderkind Jon Rubinstein is telling Financial Times that the Palm webOS operating system will be HP's preferred mobile platform going forward. Previously announced plans to sell an Android tablet are now off the table and replaced by a webOS tablet to launch sometime in early 2011. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform doesn't look too welcome in the new HP, either. The only upcoming partnership in tablets or smartphones appears to be a Windows-based tablet due shortly before HP's webOS tablet.

HP currently sells printers equipped with Android-powered tablet controllers, and it remains to be seen whether these products will be left in the cold or provided with software upgrades to webOS in the coming months. If HP is truly serious about squeezing value out of its $1.2 billion Palm purchase, this too makes sense -- but in a twisted way that turns one of Silicon Valley's most connected collaborators into a fairly lonely business, standing alone.
I didn't think this kind of move was smart when Cisco did it last year, and I still don't believe in it when HP is doing the same thing. Technical complexity shouldn't be a problem for a company of HP's scale and resources, leaving plenty of room for cross-industry collaboration and a plump product portfolio. But no, HP chooses to lean far too heavily on the Palm assets even after losing several key ingredients of that recipe.
HP's stock is rising on this news, but I think that's exactly the wrong reaction. This company is in a world of trouble and only digging itself a deeper hole for the next CEO to climb out of. Bad idea.
Am I right or am I wrong? Either way, share your thoughts on the Android-less and Windows-light HP in the comments below.

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