Bring Back the TouchPadThe first order of business for Whitman must be bringing back the HP TouchPad. HP’s tablet, which did not sell very well at its original price, flew off store shelves when it was offered for $99. And now, there is a huge installed base that Whitman can build upon. Getting rid of the TouchPad was a mistake Whitman must fix.
Remember the ConsumerAs soon as Apotheker took over at HP, it was clear that the consumer didn’t matter as much as it should have; to Apotheker, it was all about the enterprise. But Whitman can’t follow his lead. Consumers are vastly important, and they’re a key component in HP’s business. Whitman can’t forget that.
Keep the PC Business In PlaceApotheker has recommended to HP’s board that it spin off the PC business. But that’s a mistake. PCs are central to HP’s business, and try as Apotheker might to focus the firm around software and solutions, it won’t work. PCs mean everything to HP, and the division should not be spun off.
Fix the PC BusinessIn addition to not spinning off the PC business, Whitman must do whatever she can to fix the PC business. The fact is, Apotheker had something right: the PC market is going through a difficult stage and HP’s Personal Systems Group is in trouble. But it can be fixed with the right strategy. The onus is on Whitman to implement that strategy.
End All the Bad AcquisitionsHP has been engaging in a string of poor acquisitions, ranging from Palm to Autonomy. And along the way, the company has become bloated and incapable of investing cash into proper investments. Now that she’s in charge of HP, Whitman needs to stop all the bad acquisitions and spend the company’s cash only on those investments that make sense.
Reassure the Channel Partners and the EnterpriseWith HP talking about spinning off its PC business and Apotheker summarily discontinuing the TouchPad, channel partners and enterprise customers can’t help but wonder what to expect from HP in the coming months and years. In terms of enterprise adoption of the company’s products, that’s not a good thing. That’s why Whitman must make it abundantly clear to the corporate world that she’s in charge now, and knows what must be done to fix HP’s business. Most importantly, she has to reassure companies that there’s nothing to fear.
Continue the Cloud PushIf Apotheker was right about anything, it’s that the cloud is vastly important to the future of HP’s business. The corporate world is investing heavily in the cloud, and HP’s competitors are, as well. To not jump on the cloud now would be a huge mistake that could keep HP out of the increasingly lucrative space.
Bring Stability to the CEO OfficeCEOs at HP don’t have a very long shelf life. From Carly Fiorina on through Apotheker, the company has been trying to find someone — anyone — that could run it the way it needed to be run. But with each new person, it has failed. If nothing else, Whitman must bring some stability to HP’s business, and prove that the board really did know what it was doing this time around. If she can’t do that, even more shareholders will jump ship.
Forget About the Stock Price For A WhileAs a public company, the stock price is vastly important to HP. But the time has come for Whitman to stop caring about that for a while and try to fix HP by any means necessary. Yes, the stock price will matter eventually, but for now, it’s time to rebuild HP. If shares slump in the next several quarters, so be it, as long as the company is moving in the right direction. In the end, such a strategy could have a profound long-term impact on HP’s shares.
Make A Decision On WebOSRight now, it’s extremely difficult to say what HP should do about WebOS. On one hand, it might be a good idea to keep it and license it, since it has some potential. However, the operating system does have some flaws — namely, that it isn’t iOS or Android — that could hamper its chances of widespread adoption. Whether Whitman decided to either ditch WebOS or license it doesn’t matter. Either decision would be better than allowing it to flounder, like it is now.