Linked by Terry Shannon on Mon 7th Mar 2005 07:48 UTC
Editorial With HP's high-flying CEO Carly Fiorina departing, the company's woes are well known. But how did a firm with such a storied history and vast assets get headed down the wrong path, and what do they need to do to set their course straight?
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It's a different world.
by Mike on Mon 7th Mar 2005 17:16 UTC

I know zero about HP's internal business.

I do know that growing up, I learned a lot about good design by repairing and maintaining old HP test equipment from the 60's, found in the dumpsters of our local U. It was all obviously designed for easy maintenance - easy to disassemble, easy to get at everything, and easy to replace or repair modules if necessary. And obviously built to last, most of the instruments worked fine right out of the dumpster, and the pieces I kept still work today.

I recently tried to cean my HP printer. This was a $400 inkjet ca. 2000, not one of the "free with purchase" models common today. The interior had become gummed up with leaking ink, a reasonable problem, and it was affecting the print quality. It should have been easy to disassemble and clean, even if this wasn't an anticipated problem, BUT the thing was obviously built to be assembled ONCE - no screws, all plastic parts, all with serious one-way caches. Click it together at the factory, and it's that way forever. No instructions at on how to disassemble it ("the interior does not need to be cleaned"). I managed to do a partial job with long q-tips and a lot of swearing.

I suppose this evolution has occured for every tech company (remember when Apple II's had pop-off lids and every chip was socketed? You can't make a mac mini like that), but HP always seemed as a previous poster said to appreciate the art of engineering a bit more than others. Ah well.