Hewlett-Packard: The Worst Company?
HP hasn't been a going concern for years; any one unfortunate enough to have been their customer quickly discerned this.
The current CEO carousel has lined the pockets of many with generous recruitment and, usually immediately, severance packages. Meg Whitman caught on quick enough that the dead horse wouldn't take much more flogging, and so she fished up a red herring. Supposedly previous management (and the Board, of which she was a member) kinda-sorta-accidentally paid $9 billion too much for an acquisition last year.
No kidding? HP would be doing just fine, but for this?
I think the hope is that when Whitman winds down the company's operations in 2013 or 2014, she can point back to this as the nail in the coffin, the straw that fractured the camel's vertebra.
Fact is, the company has been losing share, losing relevancy, losing focus on quality and execution in every single one of its divisions for years. A failure of due diligence to the tune of $9 billion of shareholder's money is egregious and almost incredible - until you put it in the context of how HP has been running the rest of its business, which has been equally terrible.
It's sort of too bad, in a way. No one remembers the HP 6945 smartphone. It did nearly everything the iPhone 1 did - even GPS! - was at market 2 years sooner - but no one at HP ever bothered to approach a US carrier about it. Emblematic of a company with a proud engineering heritage and a set of upper management that could run a gravel pit out of business.
Flee from HPQ. Take your money far away from it. Unless you want to do what I've been doing for the last two years, which is making money hand over fist writing naked puts. Even that's less profitable nowadays - seems like the market is finally catching on.