Last year's rather painful webOS misadventure would be enough to make most companies think twice about this whole mobile thing, but not HP.
Several rumours have cropped up over the past month or so suggesting HP is planning on giving things another go, and now we hear the plan is to “aggressively attack” the smartphone and tablet markets.
Those are the words of Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who suggests the company has to lay it all on the line if its mobile second coming is to get anywhere in the current market.
“We believe HP will aggressively attack the smartphone and tablet markets, which we believe are risky investments,” Jefferies wrote in a research note through the week.
Well, anyone could have told us that, Peter. The greater the effort, the greater the risk – makes sense. So why take such big risks, having already suffered huge losses on the Palm acquisition? Simply because it's going to take everything HP has got to get anywhere at all.
“On top of adding costs and working capital burdens to an already stressed balance sheet, there could be additional write-offs,” Misek warned. “We note that to date almost all PC OEMs have failed to gain significant traction in consumer tablets/smartphones.”
That last point is an interesting one, and does hold up to scrutiny. Asus and Acer have had only moderate success (particularly the former when it comes to tablets), HP has failed, Dell has failed, Lenovo are nowhere, while Samsung and LG are technically PC OEMs but simply as part of a wider consumer electronics business.
HP CEO Meg Whitman said recently the company believes it has little choice but to offer a smartphone option. That may be true, but does it realistically stand a chance with things the way they are now?