Hewlett-Packard today stands as a great example of what has gone wrong with U.S. technology in this decade.
We stopped innovating. We lost our edge. We decided that the industry was consolidating, the way railroads consolidated, and the sharks moved in.
Regardless of how "inspiring" Patricia Dunn's life story supposedly was, she was a piss-poor board chair. She sought to micro-manage, she sought to control all information in a giant enterprise, and it's very likely she violated the law. She was not a tech person. She was a banker.
It's interesting to speculate on what she might have done next had she not been outed. My guess? Loot the company.
Under Carly Fiorina, H-P tried to change itself into General Motors. Under Dunn, it was becoming Tyco. Its devotion was to manipulating tax laws, getting credit for hires, then dumping the hires and claiming savings. That's what we used to call "smokestack" strategy.
Dunn was just Gordon Gecko. Wall Street II, starring Rene Russo as Gordina Gecko.
Don't pretend that the sharks aren't out for tech blood, itching to carve up American technology for their own greed. They're already out there. Tech outfits have huge cash hordes. It's how they keep funding innovation when markets sour. Techdirt reports that Freescale, once the chip unit of Motorola is being bought-out and taken private by people who really want nothing but its cash horde. (Imagine if Apple was still tied to these guys.) This sort of stuff is about to become common, and we need to stop it, or else U.S. technology is going the way of its steel industry.
There is a solution to all this, of course. Hurd gets some tech people on the board, and Patricia Dunn goes to jail. Think that's going to happen during the Bush Administration?