Today, HP announced that the company would be killing its mobile unit, bringing an end to the soap opera life of Palm. They also confirmed, apparently, that they are looking to “spin off” the Personal Systems division and get out of the PC business. And they may be interested in buying an enterprise search company.
This should come as no real surprise to anyone who’s been watching HP for any length of time. While the leadership changes, the song remains the same: the grass is always greener in whatever business HP isn’t in, until it gets into it. In fact, with the scramble to divest the PC unit (and whatever remaining Compaq DNA remains in the company), HP has apparently decided it wants to copy IBM and become a services company with enterprise software and servers.
I have a suggestion that should help HP’s executive suite finally exorcise the demons of past management, and move the company down the same path that IBM, Unisys, and others that it once battled in the mini/midrange/workstation space have followed with varying success: change the company’s name to EDS. Come on. You know that’s who you want to be.
HP’s services unit, formerly known as the company called EDS, is everywhere. It is clearly the center of what’s left of HP’s business once you get past that whole printer thing. Managed services and cloud are core to the former EDS’ capabilities. There are more HP Services people at the Defense Information Systems Agency than from any other contractor, I’ve been told. The Navy is, despite its efforts to get out from under NMCI, still wedded to it for the foreseeable future because HP owns the infrastructure and the intellectual property that runs the network–and the Navy’s NGEN efforts have stalled.
The same is true of the PC division. A few days ago, I had heard comments about how HP wanted to rebrand itself as a high-end player, like Apple down the road in Cupertino. But HP’s systems are known mostly as Dell competitors for the race to the bottom of the discount laptop list. I don’t hear complaints about HP servers, though.
So, do it, HP. You know you want to. Change your name to EDS. All your managed services customers never got used to those HP nametags anyway. Your people are still called EDS in the field despite the new business cards.