HP: Tech turkey of the year

image

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.

Oops.

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

Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it.
Google engineer Steve Yegge's amazingly well-written and awe-inspiring rant about Where Google Goes Wrong — which went public after he clicked the wrong settings on G+

GChat analysis: iPhone alarm snafu = almost missed my flight

  • Julianne: I saw your Facebook status - did your iPhone alarm not go off this weekend?
  • Charles: Yes! it didnt go off Sunday morning at 4:45 am
  • Julianne: Yikes! Looks like iPhones were confused by the new year
  • Charles: Yeah...I didn't realize at the time, of course, that everyone was affected
  • Julianne: so why did you have an alarm set so early?
  • Charles: I had a flight from LAX to JFK at 7am, and it takes me an hour to drive to the airport
  • Julianne: wow..did you miss the flight?
  • Charles: well, no...i just happened to be awake. because im a freak.
  • Julianne: wow. it's lucky you're angsty/insomnia prone
  • Charles: yep. i was lying in bed, awake for no reason, watching the alarm clock roll from 4:43 to 4:44 to 4:45 to 4:46, and the phone didnt go off
  • Julianne: oh my.
  • Charles: I didnt think much of it at the time...mostly it made for a confusing 3-4 minutes as i stumbled around trying to get dressed
  • Julianne: right.
  • Charles: but when i read that this happened to everyone it made sense. and then i got angry
  • Julianne: so what are you using as an alarm in the meantime?
  • Charles: I didn't need one. I started work at 11 today
  • Julianne: k you officially lead a charmed life