The only aspect of this that worries me is the fact that Whitman seems to want to keep PCs and printers together as a business. That doesn’t make as much sense to me. I truly wish HP would just spin printers off into its own business. An independent printer business could restart the innovation that died so long ago.
But that’s beside the point. What’s really important here is that the enterprise side of the business no longer be saddled with making up for the losses in HP’s poorly planned consumer market efforts. From their failed tablet business, to the endless efforts by HP to get a foot into new consumer markets like flash drives, computer accessories, the rumored entry into the mobile phone markets, and even the company’s years of leadership in the utterly dead-on-arrival palm-top market, HP has a long track record of trying to build in the consumer market. Sometimes it does succeed. I suppose you could call the iPaq a winner: it was the best, most powerful handheld device for a long time. But in the end, it didn’t matter at all because HP never produced an iPaq with any phone capabilities. Thus, the platform died when the iPhone arrived.
Similarly, HP’s efforts in the tablet market came from a repurposing of an existing handheld market leader, Palm. But in the end, this platform failed miserably as well.
Meanwhile, HP business services and its other enterprise offerings seem to be doing just fine. The company has long been able to perform there similarly to IBM. Of course, IBM threw its consumer products away years ago as well. One can only expect IBM is the model HP is hoping to emulate here.
So while HP looks for someone to buy up its consumer services, end users of HP’s enterprise products should see this as a good thing. It can only mean that the resulting enterprise company will focus more heavily on what its enterprise customers need, and you can bet they won’t be shoehorning unsold desktops and printers into enterprise contracts anymore. That’s a good thing.