Whitman and Lane repeatedly spoke about restoring shareholder value -- hardly surprising since the company's stock has lost about half its worth since March. But how they plan to do that is unclear. I heard nothing on the call about a strategic review. I'm far from convinced that HP's current strategy is a winner, if only someone would carry it out correctly -- as Lane and Whitman seem to believe.
Of course the only ones to suffer from Apotheker's lack of competence are the shareholders whose investments plummeted and the employees who lost their jobs as the company had to cut back. Apotheker himself will walk away with millions of dollars in parachute money. Failed CEOs always do.
HP is not eBay
I'm even more pessimistic because Whitman, who certainly did a good job making eBay a powerhouse, has little -- if any -- background in enterprise technology. Indeed, when Lane introduced her, he made a point of touting her experience as a "buyer" of technology. That's nice. I've been buying autos for decades. Maybe I should be running Toyota.
HP is at its core an enterprise business. Apotheker, at least, had experience running a firm whose key customers were enterprise IT. No doubt Whitman will be better at working the consumer business than Apotheker or Hurd, but that's a relatively small part of her challenge.
I also wonder if Whitman and Lane have a clue about how damaging HP's acquisition strategy has been. She made one great acquisition while she was at eBay: PayPal, of course. But she also lost $1 billion or so buying, then selling Skype to Microsoft. HP has spent many, many billions of dollars on acquisitions, most recently the wildly overpriced Autonomy buy, and you have to wonder if Whitman will be cautious or follow her predecessors in making expensive acquisitions that never produce.
There is one thing Whitman and Lane said that I agree with: Hewlett-Packard is a great company, and its health is vital to Silicon Valley and the rest of the tech industry. I wish them well and hope that their shaky start is just that -- a start -- and that we'll see better things in the future.
This article, "HP's Meg Whitman: New CEO, same old strategy," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.