What is HP doing with personal computing?

Does HP's lack of clarity mean CIOs should be switching vendors?

It was only a few weeks ago that we reported that HP was getting out of personal computing. However, the CEO behind that decision, Leo Apotheker has vacated the C-suite at HP and former eBay boss Meg Whitman sits in the CEO's chair. Following a review, Whitman has reversed her predecessor's plan and says that the PC division will stay (source: CRN).

The webOS group that delivered the shortest selling tablet ever, the HP TouchPad, still has a clouded future although there seems to be laundry list of IT's Who's Who lining up to buy webOS. For what it's worth, we're disappointed that HP killed the TouchPad so quickly. It's biggest problem is that it's about 18 months behind its competition in terms of form factor. If it was half the thickness, 20% lighter and performed faster it would give both Apple and Android a run for their money as the software is very good.

So, what's all that mean for CIOs who currently buy HP desktops and notebooks?

Finally, there seems to be some certainty that HP will keep making and selling notebook and desktop computers. The extension of that is that there won't be any complicated support arrangements in place for support of equipment that's already deployed.

It also means that you can ignore the uncertainty of the last few weeks. Like many of you, I'm a CIO and purchase HP equipment. The events of the last few weeks have left me uneasy and pondering whether HP's gear is part of my long-term plan.If we could cancel out the last few weeks, not much has really changed at HP. Sure, the CEO has moved on. But he's been replaced by a competent, experienced executive who has wisely instigated a review of recent decisions. That review has reversed a strategy shift but nothing had really changed at HP other than the killing off of a product that had barely had time to gather dust on reseller shelves.

Tablets running webOS are not in HP's future. However, it seems that they're taking some of what they learned about multi-touch interfaces into the new HP Slate 2. So, businesses wanting to put touchscreen devices in they field have a modern option from HP that is more likely to fit the rest of their enterprise architecture as the Slate 2 runs Windows 7.

After a couple of months of confusion, HP seems to have steadied the ship and will continue on the same voyage, albeit with a new captain at the helm.

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