Photo: Robert Scoble
HP CEO Leo Apotheker holds his cards close to his chest — even within the company.According to Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, Apotheker went to dinner with HP’s PC head Todd Bradley and former WebOS head Jon Rubinstein last Sunday night.
There, he dropped the bombshell that he was cancelling the TouchPad, getting out of the Palm hardware business, and considering spinning off the PC business as well.
HP officially announced the news yesterday before its earnings call.
Bradley was widely considered a front-runner for the CEO job before Apotheker took over. Under his leadership, HP overtook Dell as the number-one PC maker in the world.
But he also drove HP’s acquisition of Palm — he was Palm’s CEO from 2001 to 2005 — which in retrospect looks like a $1.2 billion mistake. (Although HP could still make its money back by selling Palm’s mobile phone patents, which are probably worth a lot more now than they were in 2010, given that Nortel’s storehouse just went for $4.6 billion.)
Rubinstein was the CEO of Palm when HP bought it, and came there from Apple, so he has lots of experience in mobile consumer computing — an area that Apotheker is clearly not interested in pursuing. He was recently replaced as the head of the WebOS group by Stephen DeWitt, who is now charged with figuring out what to do with the remnants of that business.
The open question: will both men stick around? If not, where will they go next?