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Monday, October 05, 2015

How Steve Jobs played Carly Fiorina like a fool

"Within the tech industry it is argued that Fiorina was fired from HP in 2005 "because she did her job poorly" especially since her high profile moves, such as the merger with Compaq, ended badly for HP.  But Levy tells a tale that encapsulates her stunning failures at HP even greater. In  January of 2004, Fiorina proudly announced her showstopper at CES - the flagship event for consumer electronics. That showstopper? The baby blue HP iPod. I can almost hear the reader question "The baby blue HP iPod?". Yes, the baby blue HP iPod.

Fiorina had sealed a deal with the Steve Jobs-led Apple for HP to sell HP branded iPods. Now, you may wonder, why on earth would a company whose motto was "Invent!" be excited about rebranding another company's product? Well, for one, up to that point Apple had not had much success getting the 3 year old iPods into retail stores - Apple mainly sold iPods online and at Apple stores. So Fiorina thought she had her big break, she could rebrand another company's product and sell it at your neighborhood Big Boxmart store. In exchange, Apple got HP to ship all their PCs with the iTunes store pre-installed. This was pretty significant for Apple, as HP had a large market share in PCs, and the move allowed Apple to grow its iTunes store business.

Levy however, details the flaws with Fiorina's plan

In return, HP got the right to sell iPods. But not in a way that could possibly succeed. Fiorina boasted to me that she would be able to sell the devices in thousands of retail outlets; up to that point Apple mostly sold them online and in its own stores. But by the time in mid-2004 that HP actually began selling its branded iPods, Apple was expanding to multiple retail outlets on its own. And soon after HP began selling iPods, Apple came out with new, improved iPods — leaving HP to sell an obsolete device. Fiorina apparently did not secure the right to sell the most current iPods in a timely fashion, and was able to deliver newer models only months after the Apple versions were widely available.

The HP iPod never made up more than 5% of total iPod sales."

How Steve Jobs played Carly Fiorina like a fool

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