HP's new CEO

Might be a good time to buy HP stock. They just announced their new CEO. Mark Hurd, from NCR.

So, the question is; how will he treat the calculator line? Just another marketting drone? An engineering type?


Since I am a reader (normally a lurker) I am hopeful that we will see some ingenuity in the calculator division. Anyone have opinions or ideas?



May be HP calculators will have the Tax+ and Tax- functions?


He seems like a realist and I don't think that we can expect much innovation from him given this quote from his recent book:

As much as we'd like to believe that our product is superior and unique, the reality is that the differences between one product and a competitor's is a nuance a customer may not even discern.

Hmm! That's a pretty bad attitude. What he meant in term of calculators we are the exception who can see the difference between an HP, a TI or Casio.


Just another marketting drone? An engineering type?

Everything I've heard or read about him has been in reference to his accomplishments in the area of stock prices or other financial stuff -- nothing about any love of technology or engineering for its own sake. So, my guess would be "marketing drone."


Interesting quote, Katie, and sadly I would agree that if that's his viewpoint there isn't much hope.

However, judging by eBay prices, including what I've paid to acquire 20 to 30 year old HPs for daily use, there are quite a few people who can discern such nuances!!


Don't know why I'm having a bad presentiment for the hope of "HP calc resurrection"...
Maybe because I'm quite familiar with "marketing drones" working in my company....


The correct terms is "markedroid"




Just a small comment about a comment in the previous post:

"However, judging by eBay prices, including what I've paid to acquire 20 to 30 year old HPs for daily use, there are quite a few people who can discern such nuances!!"

First, we should keep in mind that it only takes two people to drive up the price of any given sale on ebay.

Sure, there are a few hundred (?) people on this forum who love HP calculators, and probably a similar number who buy them on ebay, but even if they would all buy whatever new HP model came out, they would not comprise a decent-size market for the new machine. I'm not a business person, but I would guess that HP (or any other company) would have to sell many tens of thousands (or maybe a few hundred thousand) units to reap a decent profit from a new machine.

Just my thoughts...




You hit it on the nail! The calculator market today brings small revenues to HP, compared to PCs, printers and cameras. For HP to recapture its old enthusiasm for new calculators (and kick TI's butt like it used to) people (and I am talking about common folks) have to go wild about buying HP calculators! In other words, H calculator sales must be like wild fires for the calculator division to regain its old prominant place. This is the feeling I got from listening to HP folks at the HHC2004 in San Jose. That meeting was akin to running into an old veteran actor or actorss who gave a talk about the good old days when he/she was hot in the acting business.



VPN, so you got to know them well, didn't you...? :-)))


% profit of the calcs are great

unfortunately profit/unit is not that great

the worst is that HP does not sell batteries

you can sell inkjets with loss and rip off with inks

ÏBM sold PC business - why? No profit!



How about, "Financial Finegler"


Hey...I resemble that remark. :-)

Gene (finance guy)


Hi Gene!

Yes, you resemble the financial part, but more importantly, are you a *finegler* ;-)

Best regards,


1111 to delete (Gene)


Regarding quality of the current models,

the difference between TI, Casio, and hp

seems to be that the other brands are better now;-)



I'm not sure...

It's just HP is not as good as it used to be.



Let us suppose that the new CEO reads this series of messages. Why would he want to have anything to do with a customer base made up of individuals who bite the hand they hope will feed them?


Kudos to you sir! You have brought out a valid moral point. Unfortunately, humanity appears to be a kvetcher by nature.


Matthew 7:7 says "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

I would add "Bitch and whine and you will be avoided like the plague."


It depends on his viewpoint. If all he cares about is how much money his customer base brings in, then he'll ignore us no matter what we say; there aren't enough of us to make any real difference in the bottom line. If he cares less about money than about impressing scientists and engineers who use the products -- if he's the kind of person who says, "Who cares about profits, as long as the techies respect and admire us" -- the kind of person that I would love to see running HP -- then he'll pay attention and try to act in such a way as to change our perceptions.


"Who cares about profits, as long as the techies respect and admire us"

I'm not sure thats a great attitude for a CEO to have. His job is to help make profits. The main purpose of a company is to profit.

I don't endorse the 'profit at all costs' mentality, but all decisions must take economics strongly into consideration.



Yeah, they gotta eat...

... albeit too well at times...



Great line. I hope someday to hear it on Sunday from the pulpit! It is, alas, all too true.


I don't know the story behind HP and Agilent splitting up, but I expect there was some disagreement about where the potential for continued profit lies, with HP siding with the consumer market and Agilent siding with the scientist/engineer market. Maybe we should be looking to Agilent instead of HP to pick up again the good thing HP had going in the 80's.


Hi Palmer,

I understand the idea that one should be nice to your feed-master if one is to eat, yet there are very important exceptions to this rule.

1. When you the hand that is feeding you is actually poisoning you.

2. When the hand that feeds you is also your slave-master.

In either case, it is best to bite and move on--which is my opinion of the HP we are now dealing with. Yes, it is nice that there is a 33s, but I am much more excited about openRPN.

For HP, the calulators are a proud, if quaint, piece of history. That they stay in the market at all is quite remarkable--I think it must be that there are some people--like Fred Valdez--still have real interest--and have been able to turn enough of a profit--at low overhead--to keep the division in action. THis is a point we do not often hear discussed in this forum--that there are strong allies at HP to this day. To that extent, we should support them.

But as far as CEO's go, I think cynicism is the only appropriate reaction today. They are, in my opinion, worth nothing but dirt until they have actually proven themselves in the business. (After Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, Anderson.....what else is an honest person to do?!).




I'm not sure thats a great attitude for a CEO to have. His job is to help make profits. The main purpose of a company is to profit.

That's fine for an ordinary company, but as I 've said before, I don't consider Hewlett-Packard an ordinary company, but something unique -- different from any other company that ever was or ever will be. I see it primarily as a living memorial to Bill & Dave, and secondarily as a sort of playground for the engineers in the HP R&D labs, and everything else (especially profits) comes third. That's why I think they should not have spun off the test & measurements division, and why they should keep making their traditional lines of test equiment, calculators and HP3000 minicomputers, even if those products lose money and their divisions have to be subsidized with profits from the other divisions (like the one that makes those expensive inkjet and laser toner cartridges). As long as they make enough money to keep the doors open, that's good enough.


I see it primarily as a living memorial to Bill & Dave,
and secondarily as a sort of playground for the engineers in the
HP R&D labs, and everything else (especially profits) comes third.

I expect that most of the current owners (stockholders) see profit
as the primary (or only) reason for the existence of HP.
Unfortunately, most stockholders and directors seem to take a very
short-term view; never mind what shape the corporation will be in
five, ten, or twenty years from now; what will the next quarter's,
or maybe next year's, situation be?

CEOs and other top management types tend to move on to a "new
opportunites" after a relatively short time, so they also tend to
have a short-term outlook. Maximise their salary and bonuses while
they're there, and if the company is facing disaster after they
leave, well, that's someone else's problem, isn't it? I would that
Carly had seen a "better opportunity" at some other corporation.

We wish that Bill & Dave, or someone much like them, were still in
charge at HP, but I expect that most stockholders, if they even
know who Bill & Dave were, regard them as ancient (and mostly
irrelevant) history. What has HP done lately? Is owning HP stock
likely to result in a good (short-term) profit?

As for the engineers, does their playing around produce something
that's likely to produce a good profit in the immediate future? If
not, those in charge are likely to see them as a millstone around
the corporate neck. Hey, the quality assurance department is a
bunch of expensive nay-sayers who don't produce a damn thing;
let's get rid of them too. And who cares about the "factory rats"
who are actually producing something? Let's outsource production
to the lowest bidder. Let's outsource design too; whoever's
willing to work for the lowest cost. As long as the ones who sit
in well-padded chairs behind big desks in nice offices are happy,
that's all that matters, right? And when it looks as if it's all
about to hit the fan, surely there'll be another company to
plunder; time to move on to "another opportunity".

When a company announces a big layoff, I personally see that as a
sign that's something's gone very wrong and it's in trouble, but
note that the stock price commonly goes up with such news.

Yes, I think that spinning off Agilent was ultimately bad for all
concerned; I expect that HP and Agilent would be stronger together
than they are apart. I wish that the calculator part of the
corporation had gone to Agilent, but I can see the logic of
lumping it with computers, printers, and such "office machines".

I wish that HP would sell the calculator division to Agilent. I
expect that there'd be a return to high quality, both design
quality and production quality. (That said, note that earlier
models had their weak points too.) I'm convinced that a line of
high quality calculators could be an important "profit center",
but with HP's recent offerings, it's on the road to being a "loss
center"; from my experience with the 49g+, I'm not likely to be an
"early adopter" of any new "bleeding edge" calculator. "Brand
loyalty" may carry a company for a while, but customers also
remember bad experiences for a very long time. But who knows? With
the change in management, maybe, just maybe, HP might start doing
things right.

As for the new CEO, I know very little about him. I gather that
NCR has done okay under his leadership, and there's certainly
nothing wrong with making a profit. Certainly giving Carly her
walking papers strikes me as the best news from HP that I've heard
in a long time. Will Mark Hurd turn things around and make the "HP
Invent" logo meaningful? I don't know, I just hope for the best.



You write "In either case, it is best to bite and move on--..." That can be a good idea, but only if one has a place to move on to. Where might that be?


Hi Palmer,

1. OpenRPN
2. Hydrix
3. Abundant used machines.

I am not afraid of losing HP anymore. We already did, when the y originally cancelled the 32sii with no replacement. As a result, the 32sii went up to 150 bucks--no higher--and there were plenty of them.

Someone will fill in the void.

Also, RPN itself is not the end-all be-all. So, I can get along without it.



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