订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

惠普拆分PC业务,彻底告别卡莉时代

Duff McDonald 2011年08月22日

惠普近日宣布将分拆个人电脑业务,这家举步维艰的公司终于可以和康柏、卡莉•菲奥莉娜以及其他不愉快的记忆说再见了。

    卡莉

    抱歉,卡莉。

    全球最大的电脑厂商惠普(Hewlett-Packard)于美国东部时间上周四下午宣布,计划分拆个人电脑业务,并斥资约100亿美元收购总部位于英国的软件公司Autonomy。受该消息刺激,惠普盘中曾有一瞬间突然上涨(涨幅一度高达8.3%),但很快急转直下,追随其他各股大做自由落体运动。当日收盘,惠普下跌近6%。

    分拆个人电脑业务并非惊人之举,尽管这家公司不到十年前才通过与康柏电脑(Compaq Computer)的合并进入该市场。大多数人——很可能也包括阁下——从该交易公之于众的第一天起就觉得它愚不可及,让人想起那句老话“两个醉鬼靠在一起互相支撑。”不过,当时担任这家传奇科技巨头首席执行官(CEO)的卡莉•菲奥莉娜强硬地推进该交易,迫使股东接受——其中甚至包括公司创始人之子、怒气冲天的沃尔特•休利特。

    2005年2月9日,惠普解雇了菲奥莉娜,理由是她未能实现当初推进并购时的承诺,该新闻发布后惠普股价大涨6.9%。看起来,靠投资惠普挣钱的好办法是:等它做一件非常愚蠢的事情,给他们五年左右时间来扭转方向,然后在预见到其最终声明的前提下买入。(上一任CEO马克•赫德和那位导致他卷铺盖走人的漂亮女公关之间的丑闻就更加不用提了。我们从来没弄清那件事情的真相呢,不是吗?)

    没错,菲奥莉娜六年前就离开了惠普,但这次的新闻才宣布她的任期真正结束。没错,她2010年竞选加州参议员失败,可她真的曾自以为有机会赢得竞选吗?从另一方面来说,她倒真是花了不少钱——为自己的愚蠢而自掏腰包拿出了550万美元。(在科技界女强人中,eBay前掌门玛格丽特•惠特曼为了竞选加州州长而花了1.436亿美元,比菲奥莉娜多得多,当然她也阔得多。)

    回到惠普和菲奥莉娜时代终结的话题上来。浪费数十亿美元,裁撤几万员工,再加上主打产品转型(拜乔布斯所赐,从PC转向平板电脑),付出这么惨痛的代价之后,这个公司史上最愚蠢的决定之一终于得到了修正。不过,你得承认:她成功当上了惠普掌门人,然后又推行了大胆的措施,这至少让惠普的股价走势比戴尔和IBM要有趣得多。当然,这并不意味着该交易就不愚蠢了。

    或许早该有人提醒她:以往掌权的业绩如此糟糕,竟然还去竞选公职,岂不是注定会失败吗?加州迫切需要整肃财政,而她恰好是个立场强硬的共和党人,尽管如此,她还是毫无希望。或许有人提醒过,只是她当成了耳旁风。为什么不呢?菲奥莉娜素有贪天之功为己有的习惯——她被任命为惠普CEO之前领导过朗讯(Lucent)销售部门,尽管这段经历赢来了赞誉,可在那个时代,只要配上公文包,带上通讯术语字典,就连傻瓜也能每周卖出价值数百万美元的设备。

    沃尔特•休利特曾经和菲奥莉娜斗得你死我活,如今他似乎笑到了最后。事实果真如此吗?或许不然。如今的惠普已再次被IBM远远甩在身后,而在卡莉插足之前,有那么一阵子惠普颇有赶超蓝色巨人之势。

    多亏了卡莉,现在赶超IBM已经镜花水月,这种希望比她当选参议员的可能性还要渺茫。

    Sorry, Carly.

    Hewlett-Packard, the world's biggest computer maker, announced that it's planning to spin off its personal computer business and will buy the UK-based software developer Autonomy for about $10 billion. The news allowed HP stock to fight a disastrous tape for a nanosecond (up 8.3% at one point) but the shares soon joined the rest of the known world in free-fall. They closed the day down almost 6%.

    It's not a surprising move, even for a company that doubled down on PCs less than a decade ago via its 2002 merger with Compaq Computer. Most people -- yours truly included -- thought the deal was idiotic from the very day it was announced, evoking that old chestnut, "two drunks leaning on each other to stay upright." But Carly Fiorina, then CEO of the storied technology company, rammed the deal down shareholders' throats -- shareholders that included a steaming mad Walter Hewlett, son of the company's founder.

    Fiorina got the boot from the company on February 9, 2005 for failing to deliver on the promise of the merger -- news of her ouster sent the stock soaring 6.9%. It seems the way to make money on HP (HPQ) is to wait for it to do something stupid, give them five years or so to be able to gracefully reverse course, and buy in anticipation of the eventual announcement. (Let's not even get into the whole scandal of Mark Hurd and the pretty PR woman that got him booted from HP. We've never really gotten to the bottom of that one, have we?)

    Sure, Fiorina left HP six years ago, but today's news is the real end of her tenure. Yes, she was a failed California senatorial candidate in 2010, but did she ever really seriously think she'd win? On the other hand, she certainly spent a lot -- $5.5 million of her own cash -- on her folly. (Among the ladies of technology, Meg Whitman blew far more money in the gubernatorial race -- $143.6 million -- but she is much wealthier than Fiorina.)

    Back to HP and the closing of the Fiorina era. Billions of dollars, tens of thousands of layoffs, and a computer paradigm shift later (from PC to tablet, courtesy of Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs), and one of the dumbest decisions in corporate memory is finally being unwound. You've got to give it to her, though: she got the top job and she made a bold move, which at least made watching the company more fun than checking the ticker tape on Dell (DELL) or IBM (IBM). But that still doesn't mean the deal wasn't dumb.

    Maybe someone should have told her that running for office on that kind of track record is destined to be a failed gambit, even if you are a hard-nosed Republican in a state needed a desperate dose of financial discipline. Maybe someone did, and she ignored them. And why not? Fiorina has a habit of getting credit for things beyond her control—her appointment to HP came after a stint in sales at Lucent, which, while praised, came during an era when any fool with a briefcase and a dictionary of telecommunications terms could have sold a few million bucks worth of gear every week.

    Is Walter Hewlett -- who fought tooth and nail with Fiorina -- having the last laugh? Maybe not. The HP of today is back to coughing on IBM's exhaust, after a brief pre-Carly moment when it looked like it might gain a step on Big Blue.

    Thanks to Carly, that notion is off the table. You'll see her elected Senator before that happens.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏