Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Hewlett-Packard continues its record of strategic blunders, stops selling Apple iPods

The big news this week has been that Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will no longer rebrand and sell the market leader Apple Computer's iPod. After all these years, and after a long history of strategic blunders, it's shocking and depressing to see HP's at it again, even after chief blunderer Carly Fiorina was booted and Mark Hurd came aboard the venerable corporation as its new CEO less than a year ago.

Over the last twenty-five years, at least, one of the greatest challenges Hewlett-Packard has faced is the not invented here syndrome. It's logical, if you really think about it: two brilliant Stanford engineers, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, created HP because they wanted to engineer the very best products in the world. The corporate mantra was "build things so that the engineer one bench over would use them" and that was memorialized as the next bench philosophy. But if you start there, it's not hard for employees to conclude that nothing non-HP is good enough.

When I joined the company back in 1984, they were just going through what I call the TCP/IP fiasco (TCP/IP is, of course, the standardized networking protocol that allowed computers from different vendors talk to each other directly, something that was not possible before then) where HP engineers recognized some limitations in the protocol stack and fixed it, thereby releasing HP computers that had a better TCP/IP implementation except they didn't actually interoperate with any other vendor's systems!

As you might expect...