The Games Organizations Play

So HP, under Meg Whitman, is breaking up into a PC/printing
company and an enterprise products and services firm.

Um…well of course it’s the right thing to do to focus each and release the
great value of these two companies.
Only, just a few years ago, under Carly Fiorina, HP a
printer and enterprise products company combined with Compaq, a PC company, in
order to gain the size and clout to succeed in the ever-competitive technology
The B.S. of corporate America—everything and the opposite–to
try and do something, almost anything, to try and raise the share prices of those
strategically stalled companies.
From Meg Whitman, CEO of HP:
– October 2011–“Together we are stronger!”
– Then today, 3 years later–“Being nimble is the only path
to winning.”
Yeah, whatever.
Merge, split—wash, rinse, repeat…fool the fools.
HP is still HP—especially compared to Apple, Amazon, Google,
and even now Lenovo. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Angie Harms)

Microsoft + Nokia = HP + Palm

Microsoft + Nokia = HP + Palm

Microsoft buying Nokia is a desperate play at mobile computing.

Unfortunately, the purchase doesn’t add up in terms of common business sense.

Remember, in 2010, when HP bought Palm for $1.2B?

Palm once held 70% of the smartphone market to fall to only 4.9% share at the time that HP bought it and committed to “double down on WebOS.”

Now, fast forward to 2013 and Microsoft is buying Nokia for $7.2B, with a mobile software market share of about 4% combined (compared to their prior Windows desktop operating system market share of over 90%) and ZDNet reporting that it was “double down or quit.”

When HP bought Palm, it was a hardware maker buying software; now with Microsoft buying Nokia, it is the software maker buying the hardware vendor.

But in both cases, it’s the same losing proposition.

In 2010, at the time that HP bought Palm, Stephen Elop was leaving Microsoft to become CEO of Nokia (and in 2011 Nokia made the deal for a “strategic partnership” with Microsoft).

Now in 2013, when Microsoft is buying Nokia, HP has thrown in the towel and just sold off the remnants of Palm O/S to LG Electronics.

Ballmer is right that Apple and Google do not have a permanent monopoly on mobile computing, but purchasing Nokia is not the answer.

Microsoft’s stock is down more than 5% on the day of the merger announcement…and there is more pain to come from this acquisition and Microsoft’s hubris.

Buy more outdated technology, and you’ve bought nothing, but change the culture to innovate, design, and integrate, and you’ve changed your organization’s fortunes. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>You Can Slow Them Down, But You Can’t Stop Them


What happens when someone does something and you don’t like it—I mean you really don’t like it (and that something is painful—physically, emotionally, or even financially)—you try to get them to stop.

You see it all starts when we are little and growing up and big brother Johnny pulls our hair or takes our toy and we go running to mommy, yelling to make Johnny stop. Mommy comes out standing straight and tall and pointing her sharpened finger at Johnny, and looking Johnny straight in the eyes says stop bothering you’re little sister. Johnny looks down, sulks, and says okay (maybe even expressing a barely audible, and hollow, sorry). But then what happens when mommy leaves the room for a few minutes, Johnny’s at it again.

And that’s what happens when Johnny is doing something wrong…imagine if he believes he is doing the right thing all along, of course, he continues on his merry way doing what he was doing.

Organizations, like people, seek to stop the pain as well and if they can’t compete in the markets, they take it elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal, 2-3 October 2010, reports “Microsoft Lawsuit Seeks To Slow Google.”

Like Johnny, Google (although technically smaller than Microsoft revenue-wise) is doing something that Microsoft really doesn’t like; Google is walloping Microsoft in smartphones: “Microsoft’s share of the worldwide smartphone market this year is expected to fall to 6.8% from 13% in 2008, while Google is forecast to jump to 16% from less than 1% two years ago, according to IDC.”

Microsoft like the kid, who wants the hair pulling to stop, and they can’t make it stop themselves through a competitive product at this time, is running to “Mommy,” in this case the courts, and seeking relief by suing Motorola, the handset maker for the Android.

As one patent lawyer put it: “My gut feeling is Microsoft is losing the hand-held wars and they’re using their patent portfolio to get some of it back.”

Certainly, Microsoft isn’t alone is using this slowing tactic, for example, recently HP filed to sue Oracle for hiring their ex-CEO Mark Hurd, even though as 24-7 press release notes California tends to favor the free movement of employees and do not enforce non-competition agreements.

While Microsoft believes their new Windows Phone 7 (i.e. the Windows Mobile replacement) is the answer to their smartphone operating system prayers, and will help them to compete against the Google Android (and the Apple iPhone), the market results remain to be seen.

If Microsoft continues with an inferior product, then like a Johnny in the right, Google will continue to go right on beating Microsoft at their own game (unless of course, the courts say otherwise).

>HP and Enterprise Architecture


Enterprise architecture is always looking for ways to improve results of operations through business process improvement and technology enablement.

Joseph Juran (1904-2008) was a man who dedicated himself to these goals.

In the Wall Street Journal, Remembrances, 8-9 March 2008, it states about Mr. Juran: “Pioneer of quality control kept searching for ‘a better way’ to make and manage.”

While Edward Deming is perhaps better known for statistical methods of quality control, Joseph Muran emphasized the management aspects. Both worked at the same time for Western Electric Co.’s mammoth Hawthorne Works manufacturing plant, making telephone equipment for Western’s parent, the American Bell Telephone Co.

“Having noted that a small number of problems produce most quality complaints, Mr. Juran formulated his ‘80-20’ rule, which stated that 80% of a firm’s problems stemmed from 20% of causes. Management should concentrate on the ‘vital few’ rather than the ‘trivial many’. He called it his Pareto Principle.’”

Mr. Juran’s phrase was: “There is always a better way; it should be found.” “Although producing higher quality goods might seem costly, he argued it could pay for itself through fewer repairs and a better reputation in the marketplace.”

All too unfortunate that many companies these days, bowing to their shareholders’ desire for a quick buck and looking to maximize their executive paychecks, have cut quality to cut costs and have blasphemed the term “made in America.”

Here is a telling example of how corporate America has abandoned the teachings of the true quality pioneers, like Deming and Juran:

Just recently, I purchased a HP all-in-one printer and paid a pretty dollar for it, but I thought, hey it’s an HP, it’ll be worth it. Oh boy was I surprised when I got it and it printed horribly (not like the HP printers I remembered). I thought it must be the cartridge (even though the cartridge was also HP). So I bit the bullet, spent the money and ordered a new cartridge. Lo and behold, I received it, installed it, and the exact same lousy printing quality came out. I contacted HP after a little more than a month (since it took time to get the new cartridge) and when I called them, they basically told me too bad–no refund allowed past the 21 day refund period. Then they gave me another number for technical support (they couldn’t connect me) and I had to provide all my information all over again to the HP rep there. Then they told me they would connect me to a technical specialist for this particular printer, at which point I had to for the third time now give all my information yet again. They apparently had no customer records to access or note. It was appalling and pathetic for a company that is as large and at one time prestigious as the old HP to be so completely customer and quality berserk. HP’s Tech support put me through the ringer: testing pages, downloading new firmware, unplugging and plugging, and then finally, they had the gall to want to charge me $49 (which they finally agreed to waive) to get an exchange for the defective product they sold a month earlier.

HP did end up sending the replacement; they sent instructions to return the defective printer through UPS, but sent along a FedEx shipping sticker (yikes). They told me they would call me the day the new printer was to arrive to confirm that everything was okay, but called a day later (ok, so what?). They told me that the replacement printer would come with a replacement cartridge and it didn’t (another boo-boo); when I told the technical rep, he checked on this and said he had made a mistake. Upon request and after a prolonged phone delay, he agreed to send me one because of their error.

While I appreciate the friendly and very decent technical rep that I finally worked with on the phone, HP as a company has become customer and quality clueless.

I used to love HP, so I hope they work to improve their quality and customer service.

Juran “lamented that quality control in America tended to consist of a limited project, while abroad it was treated as an evolving process.” The all too often shoddy state of quality of many American-made products (and poor service) these days has left people shaking their heads in disbelief. Unfortunately, those companies that seek short term profit at the expense of quality and service, damage their brand and put their long term survival at risk.