HP's PCs: The handwriting was in Léo Apotheker's resumé

August 22, 2011: 8:02 AM ET

The board sealed the fate of HP's personal systems group when it hired the CEO of SAP

What the hell happened to Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last week?

The simplest explanation is the one suggested Thursday by Techcrunch's MG Siegler and picked up Sunday by Daring Fireball's John Gruber: HP's board put an enterprise software guy in charge of a low-margin PC business and a high-risk play to outflank Apple (AAPL) in smartphones and tablets. When PC sales slowed and the tablet bombed, the enterprise guy stuck a fork in both divisions and announced that he was spending $11.7 billion on a British enterprise software company nobody in America had ever heard of.

The Street didn't take it well. It lopped $16 billion off HP's market cap. By Sunday analysts were openly calling for CEO Léo Apotheker's head.

In retrospect, however, nobody who had read Apotheker's bio should have been surprised. Enterprise software is what he knows. Just look at his resume (below): 20 years at SAP (SAP) preceded by stints at Oracle (ORCL), IBM (IBM), EDS and Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH).


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