Weekend Open Forum: A PC industry without HP

By on August 20, 2011, 12:52 AM

HP shocked the technology world this week when it announced that it is considering the spin-off or sale of its personal computer business, and is also dropping its operations for webOS devices -- which they acquired just sixteen months ago for $1.2 billion. Instead, the company will be focusing its efforts on more profitable endeavors such as selling enterprise products and services.

HP is and has been for a few years the largest PC maker in the world, so its potential exit from the market certainly is surprising, but it also serves as an indication of how much of a commodity the personal computer has become. No matter what brand you look at the hardware inside modern PCs is nearly the same, and with mainstream systems powerful enough for most users it's getting harder for PC makers to squeeze bigger profits by selling high-end machines.

With that in mind we want to ask you: would it really matter to see HP go when you can get pretty much the same from Dell, Lenovo and others? Will brand be a major factor on your next laptop purchase or will you focus more on bang for the buck and form factor? And going back to tablets and smartphones, what do you think HP should do with webOS?




User Comments: 42

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In my last two notebook upgrade cycles I have gone for an HP, so it is bit disappointing to see them exit the market in such a hasty manner. I think this will damage the brand, so I wouldn't be surprised if in next few quarters sales of HP PCs/Notebooks go down, which may even result in difficulty for HP to sell PSG at a reasonable price.

On webOS it wasn't half bad as one may think and they simply didn't seem to have the stomach to stay in the fight for a longer period of time. HP now (probably) wants to get into just software side of the things, as their acquisition of British firm Autonomy indicates. However, I doubt it that they have what it takes to do an IBM.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, it mostly wouldn't much matter to anyone frequenting this type of website. Branded desktops are most likely in the minority. As far as customers who do buy branded product, IMO they don't understand the significance of a brand name other than what they're told by the salesperson. After all, "Coby" is brand name. Of course, it's probably some obscure Asian language's word for "garbage".

I hope HP doesn't pull out of the monitor business. The last monitor I bought was an HP 24" IPS and it kicks a**. HP and Dell do seen to crop up in business settings quite a bit.

IOn webOS it wasn't half bad as one may think and they simply didn't seem to have the stomach to stay in the fight for a longer period of time. HP now wants to be get into software side of the things, as their acquisition of British firm Autonomy. But I doubt it that they have what it takes to do an IBM.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't an operating system "software"?

hitech0101 said:

Never cared for branded desktops but less competition means more crap comes out.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@captaincranky: Well, HP said they are not selling smartphones or tablets anymore, but that webOS will live through licensing... the question then becomes whether someone will pick it up with nobody else backing up the ecosystem.

PS: HP TouchPad fire sale this weekend, 16GB model for $99.

Cota Cota said:

Has a technician that fixes them just so mouthbrethers screw it again, most of their laptops and desktops are kind of nice actually, they aren't that hi end tech and neither that obsolete which is good for the "normal" user who only does light and medium light tasks.

And as far webOS goes, being different is not always the way to go, or in one word "Incompatibility"

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It is, but I think they simply caved in too easily. That is why I said that they are not IBM. I am not sure others will want to have webOS licensed if they don't see any solid future development plans for it.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Just a financial aside here: As of Friday HP has lost 40% value on the stock exchange. An overall Bear Market is a loss of 20%; several companies are well beyond the 20%.

I'd be tempted on that TouchPad but if something goes wrong...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@captaincranky: Well, HP said they are not selling smartphones or tablets anymore, but that webOS will live through licensing... the question then becomes whether someone will pick it up with nobody else backing up the ecosystem.
When you consider web OS in the context of this topic: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic169491.html you have to wonder if the existence of potential licensees, are an extension of the HP corporate marketing expert's fantasy world also.

This could wind up being "group think" elevated to the level of delusionality.

I'd be tempted on that TouchPad but if something goes wrong...
Reasonably speaking, $99.95 makes it a throw away. Of course you do have to cross your fingers that that will happen later, as opposed to sooner.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hell for $99 for the 16gb, or $149 for the 32gb I might even buy one. Too bad they seem to be sold out (at HP's site).

free4rm said:

Never cared much for HP products being on the builder side of computers, poor design and architecture when it has come to reliability. HP has had huge contracts with different levels of governments which actually keeps me busy in my line of work as a city employee when it comes to troubleshooting their products.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

When you consider web OS in the context of this topic: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic169491.html you have to wonder if the existence of potential licensees, are an extension of the HP corporate marketing expert's fantasy world also.

I think we also need to figure in the Oracle-Google court case, from what I've read on this matter, the technical/legal point of view is that Google will suffer a massive defeat in courts. Forcing them to rethink and make drastic changes to Android code. Add to this the possibility of royalty payments. I suspect if things get any worse, Android could stop being 'free' (e.g. Google may hand out licenses for each Android release in exchange for fee).

That is one of the reasons I said that HP simply caved in too quickly.

@free

Not sure what the heck you are talking about, consumer oriented desktops/notebooks aside, their business oriented products has been rock solid, in fact a PIII based server machine we bought back in late 90s is still working flawlessly; and I am not going to talk about printers and other stuff from roughly same period which is still working without any issues.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think they should have held out longer with WebOS. Practically every company's first tablet had issues of one type or another.

I felt that if they had incorporated WebOS into their desktops as a secondary OS, and licensed it out, they would have had more people at least playing with it. And if they somehow managed to have it run while Windows loaded in the background, then you might get people using webOS for a minute or two, and that time period may get longer, etc.

Overall though its a shame to see an American company get out of the business.

Ssendi said:

The WebOs was working okay the way i used it though am an addict of Ubuntu now!!! @ Gwailo " felt that if they had incorporated WebOS into their desktops as a secondary OS, and licensed it out, they would have had more people at least playing with it." They had done that especially with the new Pavilions I had seen just before the Windows Startup, the Wbos would pop up!!!

Marketing was then problem maybe, I think it would have been an open source OS may be pple would have adopted it slowly!!!

when buying a machine a BRAND name plays an important role, HP has always been my favorite in laptops and Dell does beta in desktops!!! HP please try to find means of staying in biz!!!!

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

brand name pc all suck make it youself.and the webOS suck too.

Guest said:

All branded desktops are garbage. Hell, the only thing HP has ever done right was printers, and they've even had problems with those at times. I've only continued to use them because no other vendor even comes close.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I dont understand why Hp leading the world in pc sales would give up, it makes no sense...They know something we don't know!

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I build my own PCs so I seldom take note of branded desktops. I also have an Compaq laptop that's more than 5 years, slow and old with a tilted keyboard and defective hinge, but it stills boots up everyday. I'm glad that HP is keeping their printer business. I have a 9-year old 930C inkjet printer that's still works although its ink cartridges have become really scarce in recent months.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I dont understand why Hp leading the world in pc sales would give up, it makes no sense...They know something we don't know!

Because IMO they seems to be rattled atm, and they are taking the same death road which Sun took, to its ultimate demise. Only difference is that HP is in much better financial shape than Sun was.

I am not sure how buying an enterprise search firm can help HP transform into a software solution provider in near future, real money lies e.g. in ERP when it comes to software. Just to back this up Oracle made more money simply providing maintenance + license renewals etc. than selling solutions to new customers during the last year, and the biggest of them all in this business SAP is well ahead of Oracle.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

HP's current software revenue only makes up 2% of its total revenue, it will have to make more massive acquisitions to get to where IBM were when they gave up their PC business.

Also IBM were struggling when they transformed themselves, but HP have a market leading position so don't really understand the logic here. Neither does the market... their stock was down 20% yesterday.

Guest said:

It seems their new leadership is lost, has no stomach for a fight and only cares about making his quota so he can collect his bonus and then leave the company in a shambles. The PC industry including tablets, cell phones, desktops and laptops is a tough business not for the weak. You better have a good game plan and a game face to match.

Good luck HP.

Guest said:

Big business has become obsessed with profit margins.

It is not enough to have large market share and make money.

I'm a retired DEC-Compaq-HP employee.

It was easy to see after HP bought Compaq, that HP was NOT the company that Hewlett and Packard built. It was just a big corporation, with a board and CEO that had no passion for

the Tech industry.

This obsession with being IBM will lead HP to become a small player.

They had all the pieces--Tandem fault tolerant, Proliant servers, HP-UX, Compaq PC business, printers, Storage, networking.

Instead of being IBM they should have been a unique multi faceted tech giant.

The board and CEO have blown it.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

This is all that is left of the HP Touchpad on the Best Buy site, amazing how quickly this happened.

Best Buy's HP TouchPad Return and Price Match Policies

What should I do if I purchased the HP TouchPad outside of the 14-day return policy and would like to return it?

Best Buy is extending its return/exchange policy on the HP TouchPad and all HP TouchPad accessories to 60 days. Come into a Best Buy store and we will help you find another tablet to fit your needs or issue you a refund.

Does the Best Buy Price Match policy still apply if I see the HP TouchPad discounted at another retailer?

No. As of August 19, 2011, the HP TouchPad is on clearance and we will no longer be selling the units so we will not offer any price matches. As mentioned above, we will still be offering an extended return/exchange policy.

okrings said:

I've been asked to fix or upgrade a lot of computers in my time. I hate nothing more than coming into a friend's house (or a friend of a friend etc.) to find a HP, Dell or some other equivalent factory-built shit-container waiting for me. They're always filled to the brim with the weirdest components, weak powersupplies, crap cooling solutions, sub-standard memory chips and alien motherboards. Sometimes the worst part was just finding a way to open the case. People want to upgrade their PC, and they have no idea what type of motherboard they have or anything. Then I have to break the sad news to them. "You can't upgrade. No, sorry, can't be done. Buy a new computer and drown your old one in the bathtub!" That's what you get for buying a "computer" from HP and it's kind. So what do I think about the death of HP computers? I'm exuberant to the point of orgasm to see them going away!

supertech supertech said:

I've recommended HP units to many of our customers as they are generally very good units for the average user and very well priced. It's too bad that they are jumping out of the consumer PC market game but it was inevitable; that part of their business was hurting as there is little or no margin in a lot of these units.

About their WebOS tablet, it was absolute junk. I wouldn't even buy the unit for $50 as it is completely useless. In the mobile market, it's all about the OS, features, and Apps and they were starting from scratch in this market with the big boys like Google & Apple already established.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Big business has become obsessed with profit margins.

It is not enough to have large market share and make money.

I'm a retired DEC-Compaq-HP employee.

It was easy to see after HP bought Compaq, that HP was NOT the company that Hewlett and Packard built. It was just a big corporation, with a board and CEO that had no passion for

the Tech industry.

This obsession with being IBM will lead HP to become a small player.

They had all the pieces--Tandem fault tolerant, Proliant servers, HP-UX, Compaq PC business, printers, Storage, networking.

Instead of being IBM they should have been a unique multi faceted tech giant.

The board and CEO have blown it.

Thanks for this insight. A few years ago my mother had the opportunity to talk to upper level management for K-Mart prior to Sears buying them out. She asked him what happened to K-Mart for at one time it was a very viable business.

His answer was short and to the point: "The corporate management decided to be like Walmart rather than working within the business model that kept us successful. We were no longer the K-Mart that was originally envisioned but an attempt to be a clone of what makes Walmart successful. We failed."

By the way, a few years ago my mother needed a new PC system and Staples had a very nice HP system for her needs (it has an Asus board with an Intel dual core budget cpu). It has never given her a problem and to this day it does everything she needs it to do.

Timonius Timonius said:

I've never been impressed with any HP product I've purchased in the past. But then again I'm not really into any brand. I usually build my own computers where I get the best bang for the buck and tend to avoid proprietary foolishness. If only I could build a reasonable laptop from 'scratch'...

That being said, it is sad that HP is 'considering' such a move. I do agree that competition helps keep these companies sharp and their products can be more innovative. But then again reducing the choice of PCs might make it a bit easier for the average consumer.

Lurker101 said:

Have we lost anything of value? Seriously?

Guest said:

Years ago control Data dropped out of the business mainframe market place, they were a massive player right up there and sometimes surpassing IBM for that business.. the market continued without them and they were missed only by those who had( some still have ) their equipment. In the late 80's's Adlib made the best sound cards on the market, surpassing Sound Blaster by quite a distance, again, missed, but the gap was filled in already by the time they left. SGI, the biggest name in computer animation, owned an almost 100% share of the high end movie and TV business. When they went under there WAS a period of turmoil, but only for those using the IRIX system solely. BY the time they went out of business, faster PC's and ported SW like MAYA and softimage were already readily available..

By the time a large company dies out/pulls the plug the market for those said products is usually already filled by another product.

TJGeezer said:

Article:

"...surprising, but it also serves as an indication of how much of a commodity the personal computer has become."

Possible alternative readings, just to be snarky:

1. They took a real-world look at the prospects for economic recovery and decided to stay in bed.

2. "They know something we don't know!" (thanks, @xclusiveitalian)

3. The recently announced CEO and board were trained at the College of Corporate Raiders during the age of buying airlines to fire the employees and resell the airplanes.

4. The Wall Street con men have to do something, now that their real estate and substandard loan Ponzi schemes have collapsed. Destroying market confidence in huge corporations can be profitable too, after all. 20% in a day? Score!

5. It was a sound market move either to drop stock prices before taking HP private or because Warren Buffet told a gossip columnist his HP computer sucks and hula hoops would make a better investment. When Buffet speaks, you gotta act on it.

Just sayin'...

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If only I could build a reasonable laptop from 'scratch'...

Do a search for "CLEVO laptops" (many of the big names purchase their barebones systems from them). MSI and Asus also have barebones offerings for consumers. While technically they aren't truly "scratch" built, they're about as close as you can get.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Been using the HP Elitebooks for a while now, and I'm VERY happy with it. As for the consumer series of anything I'm more than disappointed with any one companies product. Also if I was to go for Dell...I think I would be disappointed in the quality.

It is a sad day indeed...

Guess its time to start looking for a replacement brand.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Weird this is that I read about this in something that looked like an ad... Didn't know those could be useful...

Guest said:

for me am happy that HP go, i have a very bad experience with there products, i manage to have 3 hp laptops and it all go just in time that the warranty period expires but the third one was legitimately on factory defect as confirm at the hp repair office, motherboard defect but what they did is just make it work temporarily, dont change the mother or whatever until I got feed up in keep going to there repair ofc.

good it stop producing laptops5

DeliciousPie said:

I will never, ever buy another pre-built desktop, so it doesn't really affect me, but as others have said, less competition is probably not good for any of us.

superty12 superty12 said:

Bloatware is bloatware, no matter how we get there.

ramonsterns said:

Reminds me of videogames.

Every MMO wants to be WoW.

Every Shooter wants to be CoD.

Every RTS wants to be Starcraft 2.

Every ODDP wants to be Steam.

Then fail miserably or dilute the genre because nothing else of value is being developed.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

"This obsession with being IBM will lead HP to become a small player."

As someone who is in charge of very large client and server purchasing decisions, this is how I view HP. They haven't innovated in a well over a decade and seem to be obsessed with following in IBM's footsteps.

Among all my peers, the only ones who seem to purchase HP are from the West Coast. Coincidence?

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

I build my own and friends pc's..

hp is or was ok...

But for doing high end 3d graphics, 3d modeleing, 3d animation, they would never hold up....

you get what u pay for....

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Have we lost anything of value? Seriously?

I shall echo those thoughts.

I do have a "all in one" HP printer sitting under my desk, but it aint much cop...I paid £100 for it and it's never taken the paper properly from day one. If i hadn't bought it from a shop 500 mile away from home it would have gone straight back.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well it appears that due to H.P. is dropping out of the P.C. side of the industry, this will make me quite busy down the road. For years I've been offering my Mother my services as her I.T. Manager at her medical practice, which exclusively uses H.P. computers. I've only really been applying my services towards the software and O.S. side of her computers. Due to the fact that her finger is not on the pulse of the Tech industry, she has made some recent statements about maybe upgrading all the H.P.'s with new H.P. computers.

I can see that whenever she chooses to upgrade, more than likely I will have to build them myself. That's a total of 9 primary medical computers, 2 primary servers and 1 dedicated back up server, which is the system I use as a "back door" by remote computing and solving computer issues from my home.

As far as H.P. in general, I've never had that big of a problem with them, other than in most cases they are "proprietary" as hell. Rock solid systems when you buy one and leave it alone, try to add something to them and that's where the problems start. I know in the short term, the computer industry will take a big hit from H.P. giving up the ghost with P.C.'s! But in the long term, I think the industry will find some way to make up for the loss. And trust me, H.P. will never, no matter how hard they would ever try, they will never be close to playing in I.B.M.'s league.

I.B.M. is I.B.M., Dell is Dell, H.P. is H.P. and so forth! I feel kind of bad for the people who either don't know how to build systems, or for those who can't afford to buy another non H.P. system, those people with H.P.'s currently, and who might have problems with their H.P.'s down the road, will be crap out of luck upgrading or finding certified H.P. replacement parts for those systems.

I bet the other computer making company's out there are licking their chops right now, Sony, Dell, Asus, Toshiba and others, licking their chops big time! Their dreaming of the business that will now be coming their way, due to H.P. dropping out and quitting the fight.

aj_the_kidd said:

This may come as a shock to some on this forum but branded computers are good enough for most, what may be even more shocking is that not everyone needs a uber powerful computer, that's easy to upgrade, i know, crazy right.

Big companies have figured out that most people will buy completely new computers as opposed to upgrading hardware, now i know this concept is foreign to some, but thats how the real world works.

Guest said:

HP has been known for printers and since they bought Compaq, servers. I have not been too impressed with their desktop, laptops. The printers are still the standard however competition is just as good these days. That leaves the Compaq/HP servers. Are they giving that up as well? If so that is a major loss, as I feel they are best servers out there.

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