The very idea that H-P CEO Mark Hurd knew nothing (nothing!) about the eavesdropping scandal at his company, that it was all the work of Cruella deDunn, is Clueless.
Hurd played Sgt. Schultz before the media today but took no questons. He laid it all off on Dunn, along with her security people, and sent her packing.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyear there is no evidence yet linking Hurd to the identity thefts. The key word in that last sentence — yet.
The real problem, however, goes much deeper, and the real culprit, I think, remains Carly Fiorina. She should have done what General Electric has done for decades — sell the slow-growth stuff and concentrate on something moving faster, something the CEO understands, something that needs innovation.
Instead she bought a lie and saddled H-P with it.
This is what drove the acquisition of Compaq. This was a common assumption in the early years of this decade.
It’s a false assumption. It is, frankly, a lie. When innovation dies you’re left with nothing but pointy-headed bosses and Wall Street sharks. Fiorina let innovation die.
There are specific niches, where manufacturing has to scale, and where the number of competitors is somewhat limited by that requirement. We can’t have that many full-line microprocessor makers, thanks to Moore’s Second Law. But we can still have a lot of chip companies. All that must happen is that some become "fab-less" — that they become designers and marketers, farming out the manufacturing to someone else. And in this decade we have had great new chip companies, like nVidia, built on that model.
In software Microsoft and Oracle have been spreading this line, but it’s a lie there too. The innovative business model of open source proves this is a lie every day. Linux and enterprise open source applications continue to drive down pricing every day, and at a profit.
In H-P’s own niche or servers, we’ve had new players like Open Source Systems develop, which live in niches like Linux and deliver fully-configured equipment quickly to Web hosts and enterprises. Before that we had Dell and its mass-customization.
It was the lie of consolidation, told by Fiorina, that sent H-P down this road. Once this was accepted, what happened with Dunn and Hurd was inevitable.
And the best thing to do at this point might be to break H-P into pieces and sell the pieces to innovators, because I don’t think there’s anyone on the H-P bench who can take this on, and I don’t think there’s anyone in corporate America who doesn’t think Fiorina did the right thing.