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Huh? Leo Proves He's a Lousy Communicator

"What We're Really Doing...Is Creating Two Companies..."

In New York to smooth the wildly bent-out-of-shape feathers of his investors, HP CEO Léo Apotheker Tuesday told the Wall Street Journal a different story about the potential fate of HP's PC unit, the entity that makes HP the largest PC purveyor in the world, than was generally taken away from the conference call last Thursday that cost HP 20% of its market cap.

Rather than sell the thing off for what one insider told us was a desired $32 billion - which has everyone conjuring who on earth might buy it - Léo seems to be telling the Journal in a Q&A that HP means to keep the thing and go down the Motorola route, splitting the company in two.

"What we're really doing," he told the paper, "is creating two companies: One focused on the enterprise, and one which will be a highly-effective, end-user device business. It will be much more than PCs....Our default option is to see if we can spin this business off to our shareholders. That's not the only option that we're looking at. The board and management have been working on this for quite some time....We said it would take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete the spin, and it's obvious that the decision will happen much sooner. The board will want to make the best decision for shareholders and our current hypothesis is that is by spinning the business to shareholders."

Léo also has a wildly different view of what he thought he communicated originally about the TouchPad.

In answer to the Journal's remark that "The TouchPad is an example of a place you invested considerable R&D and on Thursday you said you would discontinue it after a short amount of time," he said, "No, that's unfair. I was very clear on day one that we would have this project under very strict milestones and that if we didn't meet them we would take decisions about the future of this business. That's exactly what happened. If I wouldn't have done this, we would have had the following conversation today: The TouchPad isn't selling, why are you continuing to throw good money after bad?"

He did say he was better communicating one-on-one. 

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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