By Greg Mills
Flummoxed means confused and bewildered, not dead. When Steve Jobs pronounced the iPad competition flummoxed, he said what he felt and he was right.
HP, formerly the most prolific PC box maker out there, threw in the towel on its Touch Pad, a Palm OS touch screen tablet, and, while they were at it, decided to get out of the PC business. Not only did the Apple iPad kill their mobile device entry, the Mac is killing the PC business as well. The stock for HP gyrated wildly into a downwards spiral and has lost 47% of its value over the short term of its just fired CEO, Leo Apotheker. (See http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-22/hewlett-packard-shares-reeling-47-accelerates-ceo-succession-crisis-tech.html .)
This economic disaster is roughly equal to the market cap decline seen by Microsoft since Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates, but it took Ballmer 10 years to do the damage to Microsoft, while it took Apotheker less than a year to destroy HP’s value. Even now, HP is best known for the consumer PC products they sell, computers and those printers they give away to gouge you later on ink cartridges. Ironically, HP PCs had the highest customer satisfaction rating of any PC company but Apple.
The revolution in the computer industry is going to see other well known companies bite the dust. The migration from the PC industry format of the last 20 years is giving way to the mobile computing concepts led by Apple: the iPhone and iPad. Due to a combination of the worldwide bad economic situation and the slick solution to most people’s data consumption needs, mobile devices are hitting the spot. Ground breaking innovation in an industry make brutal changes in the status quo. While Apple is surging, Microsoft and the entire PC industry are tanking.
That they don’t get it isn’t the case. They do get it and can’t compete. As Web OS, RIM’s OS and other minor players flounder, Apple continues to duke it out with Android through its handset makers. Samsung is suing and being sued around the world by Apple. Apple is slowing punishing Samsung by buying parts elsewhere as the seven billion dollars of business they do with Apple is certainly going to drop dramatically as a result of the bad blood between the companies.
Google has its hands full right now in a knock-down, drag-out fight with Oracle over some Java code that happened to be found in the Android OS. Rumors are that Oracle has Google over a barrel as they have proven the infringement of patented code was intentional. The intentional part subjects Google to triple damages. Oracle has sharpened its pencil and reduced its demands down to two billion dollars. Smart money says they just may get it. Google is so big they can justify about any amount as the cost of doing business.
As the world awaits the next new thing from Apple, the usual companies are wringing their hands in anticipation of new hoops to jump through just to stay in the business. Apple also continues to have new patents approved. R&D at Apple continues to crank out innovation the industry will be reverse engineering soon enough. Nothing new in the tech news today.
That is Greg’s Bite for today.