How can this wacky Hewlett-Packard saga get even nuttier? LOTS of ways. Here are a few things to ponder going forward.
1: Track Jon Rubinstein. The former Apple hardware whiz , aka The Podfather, went to the beach for awhile before getting snapped up by Palm. Now that HP’s TouchPad is dead (or IS it?) he might be looking for other things to do and it would be extremely tantalizing if he ended up back at Cupertino’s Infinite Loop for Apple now that Steve Jobs has left the building. Of course, there were some hard feelings when Rubinstein took a hike, so it remains to be seen if Tim Cook would deign to let him back in.
2: Keep an eye on the Microsoft relationship.HP and Microsoft always seemed to be locked at the hip. But then HP got big ideas about fielding its own mobile-and-phone OS in WebOS and CEO Leo Apotheker started making noises about an HP-designed-and-built cloud ecosystem that sounded very competitive with Microsoft Azure. Oh, and HP was supposed to be Microsoft’s big hardware friend reselling Azure-based appliances to service providers and perhaps other customers. You can bet your life that Microsoft is down in Palo Alto pitching cloud collaboration in a big, big way. And of course that would involve HP running its cloud on–you guessed it–Azure.
3: Watch for TouchPad to make like Lazarus. The TouchPad is dead. Well, maybe not quite. HP is running off another batch. Note to HP: Selling a machine that costs more than $300 to manufacture for $99 is no way to run a business. VARs still say if HP initially priced TouchPad at $399, it would have done just fine even against the iPad, but pricing it at the iPad level was nuts given the dearth of TouchPad apps.
4: Keep eyes on Todd Bradley. Bradley sure sounds like he’d love to get his hands on HP’s PSG business and run that spin off himself. And many HP partners say he’s just the guy who could make a go of it.
5: Don’t rule out an Oracle bid.Never say never to a buyout bid by Oracle. You know that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison would love to throw out a low bid–egged on by lieutenant Mark Hurd (the guy who used to run HP.) WIth HP’s hardware franchise (minus the PCs ) and services arm, Oracle really could fulfill Larry’s dream of being the next IBM circa 1960. Cautionary word to Larry though: The good news is you’d be IBM. The bad news is you’d be IBM.
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