After two months of waffling, hemming, and hawing, Hewlett-Packard
The new leader of the free world's largest technology company as measured by revenue is Leo Apotheker, former CEO of German business software giant SAP
All Apotheker knows is enterprise-scaled software, which HP traditionally does very little of. He'll need to get up to speed on the server hardware, printer, and services businesses before doing anything of note. Then again, perhaps that's why he is scheduled to take his new job on Nov. 1 rather than right away – give the poor guy a chance to relocate, look around, and get acquainted with the new digs. But if and when Leo does start mixing it up, I strongly suspect that he'll want to move HP further into the software business; it's what he knows.
Whether that means a renewed commitment to internal innovation or taking the ongoing multibillion-dollar spending spree in a new direction remains to be seen. Whatever HP does tends to play against Big Blue, but a software strategy in particular would acknowledge Oracle as another head-to-head archrival.
Choosing Apotheker almost feels like a jilted partner lashing out after a departing ex. If you can't tame Hurd or get him back, why not go after his new employer with all guns blazing? The new CEO comes with a no-nonsense reputation that will keep Hurd's cost-cutting tradition going. But that's hardly the medicine HP needs right now; company coffers are bulging but morale is low. Passing over a plethora of highly qualified insiders and then not landing on a proven winner could be the final insult that drives another rash of top talent out of HP.
I still think HP should have boldly merged with EMC
Does this choice make any sense at all, dear reader? If you feel that way, please explain how in the comments below because I am left scratching my head.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. VMware is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The Fool owns shares of IBM and Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.