Leo Apotheker has big plans. HP (relatively) new CEO wants to transform the company, and is willing to break with almost everything his predecessor Mark Hurd set out. How about webOS on every computer shipped by HP?
Apotheker is pretty harsh about HP’s current state. “HP has lost its soul,” he stated. To get that soul back, he first started listening to the people working at HP. “The first thing I wanted to do when I joined HP was listen to the people. The rank and file usually know about all the shortcomings.”
Mark Hurd, HP’s previous CEO, didn’t like software all that much, and according to Apotheker, this has made HP slow to react to changes in the market. As such, he wants to strengthen the company through acquisitions – and of course, Palm is part of that strategy.
Apotheker wants every computer sold by HP to have the “ability” to run webOS. What exactly this means, I don’t know; does this mean every HP computer will ship with webOS by default? Will it be an option during the order process? Or does “ability” literally mean ability – as in, every HP computer can run webOS, but it’ll be something geeks will have to download and install manually.
Another welcome change is that he wants HP to refocus on quality. “Apotheker also aims to revive HP’s emphasis on product quality, saying that when hardware performs better right out of the gate, the company incurs lower service and warranty costs – and customers are happier,” BusinessWeek writes, “He’s rehiring quality-assurance experts fired under Hurd and giving new responsibilities to those he says got ‘sidelined’ by the former CEO.”
“We have cut enough costs,” Apotheker told BusinessWeek.
I’m getting the feeling Apotheker wants HP to be more like Apple. While my personal experience with Apple’s product quality and reliability has been rather abysmal, there’s no denying that at least in surveys (as opposed to my anecdotal evidence) the company scores pretty good on these factors. HP wants that, too, I think.
All in all, it seems like Apotheker has the right idea: their own operating system and software and a focus on hardware quality.