It has been a rough week for Hewlett Packard, which stock took a beating following Thursday’s announcement that the company was rapidly exiting the hardware business, all but killing off WebOS and its associated line of mobile devices, including TouchPad. Within a day, a fifth of the company’s value disappeared on Wall Street.
How much, you say? A staggering $16.2 billion -- some $4 billion more than Google paid for Motorola Mobility. Analysts seem dismayed, and have downgraded the company’s stock. At least one of the credit rating agencies has threatened a downgrade of HP’s debt, and investors seem to doubt the company’s ability to make the switch.
To celebrate the launch of BetaNews' latest redesign, we all went on a Cannonball Run for the newly-discounted HP TouchPad, and we found that it truly was a gold rush, and nearly every TouchPad had been scooped up.
Diehards all over the place hit the shops at 8am EST this morning to try to snatch up the super cheap, high quality WebOS tablets from whichever retailers had them in stock, and as it turns out, they weren't exactly lining their birdcages with the things, as some journalists had initially suggested.
The InterWebs buzzed last night with excitement about TouchPads selling for $99 and $149 -- that's for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. These prices make Border's bankruptcy liquidation look pathetic. Suddenly, TouchPad is the Lamborghini of tablets for 30 year-old VW bug prices. Yeah, but where do you get such a steal? Not where I expected.
Last night, Amazon and Best Buy still offered TouchPad at full retail prices here in the United States. Best Buy Canada, among a handful of other retailers, offered the discount prices yesterday -- that's $300 and $350 off. Today. The WebOS tablet is gone from both US retail Websites, and that's not because they're sold out. I called three East Coast Best Buys this morning and got the same response from all. If they carried TouchPad, it would still be for the higher prices. HP has recalled the tablet, and Best Buy has none to sell.
Friday evening, after retailers began showing $99 liquidation prices for the discontinued HP TouchPad, Hewlett-Packard sent a missive to its registered WebOS developers, vaguely outlining the changes that will take place after the company shutters its WebOS hardware division and considers alternatives for the mobile operating system.
Here's the letter in its entirety:
HP is taking a beating for its decision to kill off WebOS devices, including TouchPad, and shopping around its PC division, which could be spun off or sold. Shares fell nearly 23 percent -- that's about a six-year low! -- in early trading today.
Betanews readers, who are an opinionated lot, are figuratively shaking their heads in dismay, too.
Six weeks after the first TouchPads reached retail and two months after preorders started, HP killed the tablet. That's right -- in a stunning announcement made just a few hours ago.
What we want to know: Did you buy TouchPad? Are you willing to admit it? What do you plan to do with it? What do you think of HP's decision to ice TouchPad -- your tablet -- in less time than European summer vacations? Please tell us, in comments or email joe at betanews dot com.
There were a lot of sour notes in Hewlett-Packard's third quarter earnings call this evening: the bad economy is having a negative impact on hardware purchasing in both the consumer and public sectors, which impacts PCs, Printers, and Mobile devices. HP's CEO Leo Apotheker also pointed out the serious challenges for its Business-critical systems unit (a segment of its Enterprise servers, storaging and networking hardware [ESSN] division) that could possibly have been prevented.
Last March, Oracle announced it was stopping all software development for the Intel Itanium platform, and that it arrived at that decision because of the overall discontinuation of support by Intel, Microsoft, and RedHat. Oracle singled out HP and said, "HP CEO Leo Apotheker made no mention of Itanium in his long and detailed presentation on the future strategic direction of HP."
One day after reports that HP TouchPad was selling poorly at Best Buy, the world's No. 1 PC company discontinued the product. It was an unexpected announcement among others. HP also is looking to ditch its PC division.
In a press release, HP says "it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for WebOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and WebOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward".
Just hours ahead of Hewlett-Packard's quarterly earnings call (which we were already eagerly anticipating), Bloomberg posted a report saying the Palo Alto based computer company will be spinning off its PC business into a separate company, and that it is acquiring the United Kingdom's second largest software company, Autonomy Inc., for $10 billion.
HP has since confirmed both rumors, saying it plans to announce in its earnings call that the HP board of directors has "authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG). HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction."