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August 21, 2011

HP Touchpad Fire Sale Burns HP

If were under a technology news rock yesterday you may have missed the news that HP decided it was no longer going to be competing with Apple in the phone or tablet business. The HP tablet prices dropped from $600 and $700 to $100 and $150 Saturday early morning.

A price drop this significant causes some big news. Websites like slickdeals.com picked up on it almost instantly and spread the word far and wide. Leading to a run on web retailers’ websites like bestbuy, officemax, walmart, and others. I even went out to stores on Saturday morning to see the effects and maybe a chance at scoring one, but my luck was poor. Not a poor as the guy working the phones at Staples… That guy was getting nonstop calls and angry walk-ins. I even let a disgruntled customer waiting in the computer isle in on the story and that the kid in the comouter department got sucker punched by HP last night… And on one of the busiest back-to-school shopping days around here… Dickish move, HP. You could have waited a few weeks.

But that’s not the worst of it. HP’s own web store couldn’t handle the traffic. Actually, it utterly crumbled under the load. The entire site was lethargic, more than normal, and even before getting to the actual product page you could tell it was getting hammered. The store was unresponsive and took three minutes to process my intent to purchase. After all that, I ended up with a VB Script error about running out of memory. Very classy.

Let me give you a little side story. HP is betting big in their cloud services, managed services, and high performance data centers. They’re looking to spin off or dump their consumer products like tablets and PCs because they aren’t profitable. They want to sell you servers (good products), network gear (crap), and software (hit or miss) to make it all work. They want you to come to them when you have problems with your network, websites, and business.

And they showed how completely unprepared they were for a simple spike in traffic that equalled, I’m estimating, the traffic any major retailer site gets on black Friday.

So here we are… with everything clearly in perspective. HP is going to take a beating from consumers who have stood by them and defended their consumer products, CTO and CIOs are going to question their professional services and data center designs, and me… well, I just wish Michael Dell would shut the fuck up about it all. His company isn’t doing all that hot in this market either and he’s not doing much to fix it.

It’s a shame really, this is not the company Hewlett and Packard worked their lives to make. The history of the company was one of greatness – a Google of the last generation. If you get a chance to read “The HP Way” give it a read. You’ll see this isn’t HP anymore.

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