This week, we ran a chart showing HP’s crashing stock price since Mark Hurd was forced out of the company.
After we published the chart, a friend emailed to say, “Hurd destroyed the company. Gutted R&D, which was the cardinal sin. It was always an engineer’s company. He financialized it. And in so doing, set in motion the wheels of doom.”
From 2010, here’s a look at how R&D as a percentage of revenue fell under Hurd’s watch.
But, is the R&D budget really why HP is hosed? Probably not. Look at this chart, also from 2010:
Anything jump out in that chart?
Apple spent less on R&D than HP, Google, and Microsoft in 2009. No one is going to accuse Apple of not producing great innovative products, despite a small R&D budget.
When Hurd was pushed out, an ex-HP engineer told Joe Nocera slashes in the R&D department was, “why H.P. had no response to the iPad.” Apple managed to make the iPad while spending less on R&D, so we’re not sure that totally adds up.
It’s not how much you spend on R&D, it’s what comes of it.
As for the charge that Hurd “financialized” HP, well, that may be true. But, he seemed to be at least somewhat in control of where the company was going. The two CEOs since Hurd have no clue, it seems, about what to do with HP.
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