Its Tough to Find a Winner

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-09 Print this article Print


6. It gives Microsoft the upper hand

If nothing else, Hurd's departure gives Microsoft more power. Since Hurd has been at HP, he has been tough on Microsoft. When the software giant released Windows Vista and Hurd found that it wasn't selling as well as he would have liked, he offered customers downgrade rights to Windows XP. He also took Microsoft on in the corporate arena. He has been a thorn in Steve Ballmer's side all the years he has been at HP. Now that he's gone, Microsoft has the upper hand. And when a new CEO joins the company, the last thing he or she will be worrying about in the first days is HP's relationship with Microsoft. Microsoft can capitalize on that.

7. It's tough to find a winner

When Hurd joined HP, the company didn't know for sure what it was getting. It didn't know if it was getting a CEO who would lead the way Fiorina did, or if it would get someone who would do an extremely fine job. Luckily for HP, it got the latter. But getting lucky twice in five years isn't easy. In fact, it's nearly impossible. Realizing that, HP will have a hard time finding a CEO who can run the company the way Hurd did. In fact, that search could take years. And the longer it takes, the worse it will be for HP.

8. The future was looking bright; now what?

The future looked great for HP. The company was well on its way to greater revenue and success. And although HP says the future still looks good for its business, what will happen once the year is over and it needs to get working on innovative new strategies to keep its competition at bay? When Hurd was at HP, he had a vision of what the company would look like in a few years, and he knew what he had to do in order to make that vision a reality. With a new CEO coming in, that vision could be different, and depending upon the new CEO's expertise, HP's chances of being successful in the increasingly competitive tech marketplace could be significantly hurt. It should be interesting to see what HP's future looks like.

9. New leadership brings new challenges

Whenever a new leader takes over a company, there is a transitional period. New CEOs need to find reliable support staff to help achieve their goals, they need to find out about how the company operates and, most importantly, they need to determine what programs to keep and which they should end. For a company competing in the tech space, like HP, going through that transitional period often is not a good thing. It typically sends a company into turmoil for a while, and allows the competition to gain on them.

10. Corporate culture dictates success

Part of the role of the CEO at any major company is to create a corporate culture. That corporate culture helps set the tone for how the company should operate, and what will guide its strategies in the future. Hurd built a corporate culture that his employees bought into. Now, the onus is on the next CEO of HP to either keep that corporate culture going or create a new one that employees can get behind. That might be difficult, given how successful Hurd's culture has been over the past five years.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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