I took a look at my recent stories on Seeking Alpha about Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and they don't make for happy reading.
I called the company's February announcements "a FUD offensive." I called it on its May layoff announcements, noting that sometimes a cut is just a cut. In August, I asked where the growth was and whether HPQ or Dell (DELL) was more likely to survive. Year to date, HPQ is down 28%.
While our Chris Lau disagrees -- he calls the stock undervalued, and I must stipulate here that I like Chris very much -- my own intimations of gloom are in the process of becoming conventional wisdom. (It does not please me to write that.)
Chris O'Brien, who works for HPQ's hometown paper the San Jose Mercury-News, now admits the company may be "beyond saving." The problem, as he sees it, is that the company doesn't have the "years" CEO Meg Whitman insists are needed for a turnaround.
O'Brien talked to Baird & Co. analyst Jayson Noland, who suggested that Whitman's only hope is to make the company's parts work together somehow and then offer a clear, articulate vision for the future. The problem with that is the bulk of the company's layoffs were in EDS, the unit whose job it was to tie everything together.
And what is the vision? HPQ claims it is getting into private clouds, and building its own network of clouds based on OpenStack. So is DELL and so is Rackspace (RAX), and RAX's engineers did a lot more to develop OpenStack than HPQ's -- that matters because clouds are complex.
Meanwhile, the public cloud leaders like Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) have this whole space figured out. They've stopped buying server hardware from HPQ in favor of cheaper Chinese stuff. Think you can beat the Chinese on costs, Meg? I don't.
Size is no barrier to failure in technology. A lot of companies we thought were too big to fail, failed. And a lot of those names wound up getting swallowed up by HPQ, for big bucks, while they were sputtering in -- Tandem, Digital Equipment, and Compaq being just three. Silicon Graphics, Wang Labs -- they were once very big too.
HPQ at this point is a zombie, and what we are starting to see is a zombie apocalypse.
Disclosure: I am long GOOG.