Hewlett-Packard Co. is the original icon of Silicon Valley, the two-guys-in-a-garage company, complete with folky tales such as the one where Hewlett and Packard used a kitchen oven to bake the paint onto their oscillators.
But the HP of old has been dropping away in pieces for some time. The real original HP was spun off in 1999 as Agilent Technologies. And the most significant HP buildings of my childhood — the ones we drove past all the time — are already gone. They’ve been razed for the Apple spaceship headquarters.
Maybe most importantly, the original spirit of HP, the HP Way, is dead and buried. Even around 2001, friends and acquaintances bemoaned how different life had become under then-CEO Carly Fiorina (change No. 1: layoffs, formerly anathema under the HP Way), and the subsequent parade of CEOs didn’t do much to restore faith.
That cycle isn’t necessarily over, of course. Remember that the split, now accompanied by one last layoff of 30,000, was prescribed by CEO Meg Whitman as the best way to bring the company back to health.
For what it’s worth, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd — part of that HP CEO parade — wouldn’t directly comment on the split when asked earlier this week, but his comments suggest he’s not in favor of it.
“I’ve long believed in the importance of scale and the importance of innovation with that scale,” Hurd said during an Oracle OpenWorld media session. “Critical mass and scale are a huge benefit.” (He did concede that they can also be a detriment.)
Here’s a glimpse of the media coverage that’s accompanied HP’s final working day before the split:
- Fortune recaps the company’s history, obituary-style, focusing on the tumult since the turn of the century.
- The local San Jose Mercury News looks at the two new giants being created by the split. (I’m expecting a big, teary special section in Sunday’s paper.)
- The New York Times focuses on the year of preparation that’s gone into the split, driven by a disaster at one of Whitman’s former jobs. (Side note: The original Hewlett and Packard offices, still decked out in ’60s decor at HP’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters, will be open to employees of both companies.)
- Bloomberg discusses the rationale for a split, briefly contrasting it to Dell/EMC.
Here at SDxCentral, we’ll continue to cover the HP Enterprise half of the company and its continued adventures in cloud, NFV, and networking. (Shameless plug: I’ll be at December’s HP Discover in London, moderating two NFV panels.)
Here’s a recap of our own recent HP coverage:
- HP Unplugs Its Public Cloud & Flips TippingPoint
- Dell/EMC Deal Puts Crosshairs on HP. Who Else?
- HP Enterprise to Slash up to 30,000 More Jobs
- IBM Snags OpenStack Expert from HP
- Former HP Exec Now Heads Skyport Systems
- HP Reports a Downer Q3 as the Company Prepares to Split
- Meg Whitman Tees up HP Enterprise and the Hybrid Cloud
- HP to Acquire ConteXtream in Carrier NFV Push
- HP’s Q2: Networking & Software Disappoint Again
- HP to Nab Aruba Networks for $2.7B
- HP Revenue Drops As ‘Execution Issues’ Hit Networking Biz
- HP, EMC, VMware, and Vaporizing Silos
- HP Confirms Plan to Split Into Two Public Companies