Photo: Sideshow Bruce, Flikr
It was close. Sony was hacked just about every day for a month. BlackBerry suffered PlayBook tablet apathy and its longest-ever outage. Netflix’s Qwikster debacle sent its stock tumbling by more than 75% since the summer.
But my tech turkey of the year is Hewlett-Packard. Or, more specifically, HP’s board of directors.
The company’s board continued a decade of — well, incompetence is a strong word, so let’s say dysfunction — by backing its CEO Leo Apotheker’s plan to get out of the PC business. It also killed off the TouchPad tablet that had come out just a few weeks earlier after hyping it for the better part of the year.
After slashing TouchPad’s price to $99, HP sold out its stock in days. Oops! Turns out HP may have had a product people wanted after all — hang onto that thought.
A month later, HP’s board decided it had enough of Apotheker and fired him. Fair enough, HP lowered its business outlook this year more times than Netflix changed its mind on its DVD business. Of course, executing on a strategy to convert a hardware company into a software company, when software made up 2% of sales, wasn’t exactly a cake walk.
In October, HP said it was going to hang onto its PC division after all. Oops! Just kidding, PCs are actually pretty nifty machines.
It’s as if HP saw Netflix, Sony and Research In Motion and said, “Hey, good idea! Let’s do a double-reverse-course on our premiere product, anger and confuse the hell out of all of our customers and release a tablet at a price point where no one would consider buying it.”
If that’s not enough for tech turkey of the year, I’m not sure what is. -David