Concerns about HP's new direction



#27

Hi All,

It took me a while yesterday for HP's decisions to sink in. By the time I went to sleep I was very worried about the fate of HP calculators (present and future) and the fine men and women who work in producing them. Yesterday, I had written a thread to invite many folks on this forum to the HHC2011 saying that it will be a historical event. I HAD meant historical from the technical aspect of the cool topics discussed. It may be even more historical from the aspect of the fate of the calculator division. As I understood the reports from yesterday, it seems that HP's top leaders don't want to waste their time with making chump change. They want to go after the big bucks (IBM style) and the big customers--government and big corporations. You and I do not belong to that exclusive club. Moreover, our most beloved calculators do not belong to the "high dollar" item (actually service) category. I can easily see some company (most likely Chinese) buying the HP computer business, but who will buy the very small HP calculator business??? I shutter at the idea that our beloved HP calculators are heading for oblivion because they do not rack up the big bucks.

I am truly sad and shaken about what I perceive will happen in the next few months and the next year.

:-(

Namir


#28

Someone will jump in, as always. Personally, I don't mind if the next good calculator won't have an hp label slapped on it. It might be as well 'wp', 'tc' or whatever one could imagine.

Have a look at Commodore. It's gone, but the machines and fans are still there, and there are even new things coming out all the time.

I'm sure there's a market, and that market will be served. Up to now, I always had one colleague also using an HP calculator, refusing to use something else but RPN. Last time it was the 15C, currently it is a 32SII - same as I use :-).

Don't think we're a small group. We're not. It pays to deliver machines we want ;-).


#29

Thomas,

I hear what you saying. HP calculators may survive at the hand of small companies that consider the sale of these calculators as providing adequate income. I don't see a big corporation taking on HP calculators since they don't generate big bucks anymore! This means that the smaller company who will take on HP calculators may not be able to provide the quality we are used to.

Namir


#30

Quote:
This means that the smaller company who will take on HP calculators may not be able to provide the quality we are used to.

How about "Cyrille and Tim, Inc."????

<grin>


#31

Of course ... I am worried about them.

#32

Quote:


Have a look at Commodore. It's gone, but the machines and fans are still there, and there are even new things coming out all the time.



Your analogy with Commodore may be a good one. It still exists:

"Commodore USA, LLC was founded by Barry Altman in April of 2010, with the express purpose of reviving and re-establishing the famous Commodore computer brand. We are Commodore and AMIGA fanatics, just like many of you."

http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx

Perhaps a group of HP calculator enthusiasts need to do the same thing to keep it alive.


#33

Quote:
It still exists:
It does not. Commodore USA just licensed that name to produce PCs. Their OS is Linux. It's generally ok besides being extremely expensive, but has as much to do with old Commodore products as e.g. the HP-30S has with a Voyager.

#34

If HP sells off its calculator division, it may be for the best. Maybe the purchaser will finally take into account what the people are asking for.


#35

I'll tell you what I'm concerned about. I just bought a 17.3" Pavilion laptop from HP and now they are getting out of the PC business? This reminds me of when I bought an 2 GHz iMac G5 in 2005 and a month later Apple announces it's migration to the Intel processor.

Okay, let's have a poll of which PC manufacturer we want out of business and I'll order a PC from them.

Gerry

#36

AFAIK this "calculator division" consist of very few people, backed (at least sometimes) by the resources of a huge company. I doubt said division can live on its own, though I'll be more than happy if proven false.

Remember we saw many "next generation calculators" announced by small companies or groups failing in the last decade. There is merely one exception, and this project (which must not be named here anymore for sake of not hurting the souls of our littl'ones) succeeded only since it relies on HP hardware. But we won't get HP hardware without HP :-/

Just my 20m€,

Walter

#37

Quote:
If HP sells off its calculator division, it may be for the best. Maybe the purchaser will finally take into account what the people are asking for.

I can't see that ever happening. if it did get sold, then I can't see anyone buying for anything but the niche targeted educational and engineering products already produced.

And this reminds me, this huge shake-up might just mean there is a chance the new 15C won't actually make it out.

I'm willing to bet that it was "business as usual" up until the internal announcement for this shakeup. But once that announcement was made, EVERYTHING changes instantly internally, on a dime.
Pushing the 15C out the door might be very hard indeed, no matter how close it is.

Dave.


#38

Financial Dave. Financial calculators is where their income is.

They pretty much lost the educational and engineering markets a long time ago :-(

Now if you can build us a credit card sized calculator with decent amounts of memory we'll be able to make something decent from it.


- Pauli

#39

It's not a slam dunk that the calculator group will be axed by the next owner. I believe HP actually makes money off calculators now, albiet a drop in the bucket compared to the overall balance sheet. The thought struck me that perhaps the calculator business might look more attractive to a company used to lower margins.

Another thing I realized is that I've got essentially zero understanding of the dynamics driving HP and a prospective buyer or buyers. Predicting what happens to HP calculators is therefor an exercise in ungrounded imagination for me.

It's a very uncertain time, no doubt.


#40

Howard,

If HP feels the income from the PC market is not worth it, they will feel the calculator division to be like a tiny mosquito!! HP is interested in making LOTS of money ... and ONLY LOTS of money.

My concern is that the calculator division will have "most misfortunate fate" and go into oblivion. Sorry Tim and Cyril! You guys rock!! We as a club and all the collectors on eBay are really small potatoes.


#41

If they even sell the PC business, then there is no chance that the calculator business will be kept, lets say, survive. The new CEO, coming from SAP, where he did not act with much fortune, seems to turn HP into another SAP. Who needs? The market for biz software is almost satured, I am afraid, this HP approach is doomed to fail and in a couple of years HP is just a brand without content left.

Andreas


#42

Hi, all!
As seen in 2000, when Ms. Carly Fiorina put out the great HP division of equipments (now Agilent) and would invest on PCs market, I only said to my coleagues: HP is dead! They will compet with China in making PCs ...
Well, I'm just waiting the final punch.
Each new CEO - or God, as market put them - that came from a bankrupted firm and enters to HP brings that bankrupted enterprise into HP and discards HP's history.
Now, HP is moving into a market that anyone with a minimal structure can offers too. It's just a question of time and we'll not anymore see HP logos in anywere, beyond museums of technology and science.


#43

Don't know about Carly's dark history before HP, but Leo's former company is far from bankruptcy. FWIW

#44

I share your concern, Namir. I was just pointing out that being sold with the rest of the PSG might not be the death knell for our friends. A new owner that considered the PC business to be worth engaging in might also look at the calculator business as worthwhile. I was really commenting on the uncertainty of the situation. The possibilities might include better outcomes than we fear.

I will now go back to counting rainbows and feeding the leprechauns. :)

#45

Apotheker's pay package


Leo Apottheker employment

What is the budget of the HP calc division ?

#46

Wouldn't it be awesome if they just open sourced *everything* from the calculator division?

And I'm talking source code, CAD files, all documents and masks etc

Better than letting it die, and I can't really see anyone buying it, except for being bundled as part of the computer division - which would be the same as letting it die.

It's a shame when companies and/or projects just die, and the massive amount of engineering and sweat and tears that went into them just dies too.

Dave.


#47

Quote:
Wouldn't it be awesome if they just open sourced *everything* from the calculator division?

And I'm talking source code, CAD files, all documents and masks etc


Maybe awesome for the crowd here and any responsible curators
of that intellectual property. But you can bet someone
would soon be supplying the local dollar store with 15C keychain
knockoffs. So there is risk to the brand image which can
lessen the value and perhaps enjoyment of these devices.

Quote:
Better than letting it die, and I can't really see anyone buying it, except for being bundled as part of the computer division - which would be the same as letting it die.

It is an ultra-niche market which I expect to continue
shrinking and I'd hazard the associated IP will transition
into (or merge with) a more contemporary product.
But my crystal ball even with a fresh set of
batteries isn't giving me anything concrete.

Quote:
It's a shame when companies and/or projects just die, and the massive amount of engineering and sweat and tears that went into them just dies too.

Quite true. But given the mind boggling pace at which this
general technology space advances, it isn't too surprising for
a market defined and ruled by HP in the early 70's to be a
little different some 40 years later. The fact they are still
around speaks volumes of the engineering accomplishments and
market presence of HP.


Edited: 20 Aug 2011, 4:08 p.m.

#48

Sigh :-(


- Pauli

#49

When the HP/Compaq merger was announced some members of the Hewlett family were against it:

Quote:
Walter Hewlett said acquiring Compaq would significantly increase HP's exposure to the PC market, which he said is "neither growing nor profitable." (http://news.cnet.co/2100-1001-275466.html#ixzz1VYp0MmTP)

I think he was right. Leo has to correct Carly's wrong decisions in the past, even if it hurts. Recently, HP didn't catch up with new trends in PC and tablet business, now they have to pay the bill.


#50

Yes I have an iPad that we use at home and while traveling, but I mainly use PC's that are networked at home--I have a desktop PC and several laptops. I enjoy a nice keyboard, screen, and connection with many USB devices (many external hard disks, SD card readers, cameras, etc) and the built-in DVD drive. And yes I use my new iPhone to check email, eBay, CNN, Facebook, movie times, while I am away from home. BUT .... I still enjoy using a PC. It maybe be another decade before I become more tablet-PC oriented. Besides, PC sales are low because of the general world economy!!!

Namir

Edited: 20 Aug 2011, 8:46 a.m.


#51

Quote:
Besides, PC sales are low because of the general world economy!!!

That might be a reason; another reason is that people have several devices (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, PC) and they don't buy a new PC each year anymore. One of the success factors of Apple is that they have the full line of products, from mobile phone to PC, all with a quite consitent user interface, app store, music store, etc.

Recently, I bought a HP laptop for my daughter, and I have to admit that I didn't found yet anything that sets it apart from a laptop of any other manufacturer, nothing left from the old spirit of quality and innovation ...

#52

Yes, Namir, it's sad.

I feel for the guys in the calculator group and wish them all the best. I bet that group's product's are high-margin within the PC group, so maybe (hopefully) HP will just keep the group as is.

As far as heading into oblivion, I don't think so. The RPN idea is here to stay. Not as a mainstream thing, but as a viable alternative for whoever wants/needs it.

As far as new products from HP, it sounds like (though I do lack the insight) the calculator group at HP was sized for "maintenance", rather than radical new product development. So, with or without there being change at HP, truly new products were kind of unlikely anyway. (If someone has info that suggests otherwise, please correct me.)

As far as where will the RPN ideas live on, I think it's important to realize the importance of the smartphone/tablet.
There're hundreds of RPN apps out there, with downloads in the thousands per day (I say this based on hard numbers I have access to). That's where the security comes from that RPN will survive.
It's nice to have keys, but it's also nice to carry just one device. And a touch-screen is the better control for anything graphing.
For a one-line RPN calc, I opinion the sweet spot lies with the smart device. And for a graphing calc, tablet HW can't be beat.

To me, of greatest interest would have been a new development that continues the -48, -49 line.
That would be a major undertaking, demanding many millions in investment (if you don't do it very smartly...), and it looks like HP really wasn't going to pull this off.
If there's (dim) hope that someone could pick up the IP (and people) behind the HP calcs, and take to the skies with new development, then maybe the changes at HP could be for the better.

It's amazing how dumb big corporation can be. I worked at Warner Bros. when Time Warner decided (with 99% shareholder approval) to buy AOL. It was so dump a decision, I almost quit the company over that. Sure enough, it turned out to be the fiasco that any one with a bit of technical savvy could have predicted.

Do these big mergers, upheavals ever work?
I think the big cats are under emotional stress to do big changes to justify their outsized salaries. Sadly, rarely people of intelligence steer the big ships.

What's in a name? "Apotheker" is "pharmacist" in German. Talk about high-margin, service-oriented business.


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