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Steve Jobs tried to protect HP and Mark Hurd to prevent everything that happened 18

by Derek Kessler Thu, 10 Jan 2013 2:12 pm EST

Steve Jobs tried to protect HP and Mark Hurd to prevent everything that happened

The story of what happened to HP is a complicated and at times a depressing narrative. Things were going okay until 2010, when CEO Mark Hurd was forced out of his leadership position due to sexytime-driven accounting improprieties. That kicked off the era of Leo Apotheker, a disaster on all fronts for HP and webOS.

It's been known for a while that late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs was a fan of HP as a Silicon Valley institution, and today Businessweek published an extensive piece on HP's fall from grace that included a fascinating nugget: despite HP being a competitor on many fronts with Apple, Jobs personally urged Hurd to reconcile with HP. Jobs went so far as to personally email Hurd within a few days of his departure, asking if he "needed someone to talk to" (Jobs had gone through a similar ouster, though with less sexytimes, from Apple decades earlier).

"Hurd met Jobs at his home in Palo Alto, according to people who know both men but did not wish to be identified, compromising a personal confidence. The pair spent more than two hours together, Jobs taking Hurd on his customary walk around the tree-lined neighborhood. At numerous points during their conversation, Jobs pleaded with Hurd to do whatever it took to set things right with the board so that Hurd could return. Jobs even offered to write a letter to HP’s directors and to call them up one by one."

Of course, Jobs's motives in talking to Hurd and attempting to smooth the ruffled feathers of HP's board wasn't entirely personal. Jobs believed that a healthy HP was "essential to a healthy Silicon Valley," with HP essentially standing as the founding company of California's technology hotbed. Of course, Jobs was not able to bring Hurd and HP's board back together, and in things unraveled very quickly with the questionable selection of former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker as HP's new chief executive. How different things would have been under Hurd is hard to say, but it's all but certain that webOS would have been given the time and the money it needed to succeed.

Source: Businessweek; Via: MacRumors

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18 Comments

I've always wondered why Apple didn't buy Palm. It would have made so much sense for the patent portfolio alone. (More lawsuits!) Seriously, though, I wonder...

They didn't do it because they already have their own extremely popular OS. It would have been cool to have an iPhone and iPad with TTS and webOS

I am not surprised smart men do things like this

On the plus side, at least Jobs didn't give us a reason to worship him too. He could literally have been the savior of webOS.

if it meant webos's survival, I would make that trade.

I would have kissed his butt......

just saying ;-)

wow

I was surprised that Derek missed quoting this bit:

HP may return to the smartphone business as well. “Ultimately, we have to do that,” Whitman says. “But we have to figure out how to do it without losing a boatload of money.”

Of course that doesn't mean they'll use anything from webOS. I suspect any upcoming HP phones will be running Windows Phone.

yes, but it is interesting to see that she said it again. Hopefully she/they have gotten the memo that one way to lose a boatload of money on smartphones is to spend millions designing and producing a new phone, and then cancel the entire product line with production phones literally on their way to the big 2 us carriers.

I was at a conference with Meg about a month ago, and she clearly said that "WebOS had lost the train on competing with Android or iOS". And actually turned the question to Enyo and how they were focusing more on the SDK now. The next smartphone HP sells will not have WebOS for sure.

yet another article about the debacle at HP that makes one wistfully mutter "if only...."

"A young Steve Jobs, then in grade nine, had called up Hewlett requesting a part for a frequency counter that he was building. Hewlett was impressed with Jobs' gumption and offered him a summer job. Jobs then considered HP one of the companies that he admired, regarding it among the handful of companies (Disney and Intel were the others) that were built “to last, not just to make money”. "
taken from the Wikipedia page on William Hewlett co-founder of HP

LOL

hurd had to go, no vision, just a bean counter that fostered no employee loyalty. blame leo for webos' demise.

Didn't Steve Jobs bully Mark Zuckerberg into not allowing the release of a decent Facebook app for the TouchPad before it could be done for the iPad?
http://mashable.com/2011/09/30/apple-facebook-hp/

that was the story i heard...

This story made me throw up in the back of my mouth just a little bit.... Oh what could have been!