Key moments in Hewlett-Packard's recent history

AP News
Posted: Jul 15, 2013 12:48 PM

Hewlett-Packard Co. named three new members to its board Monday as it continues its turnaround efforts. HP has been struggling amid declining PC sales, with people spending their money on smartphones and tablet computers instead. Here's a timeline of some key events in HP's history since it acquired the PC business.

— Sept. 3, 2001: HP announces it is buying fellow computer maker Compaq Computer in a deal that would create a formidable rival to IBM.

— May 3, 2002: HP and Compaq combine businesses following a contentious road to the acquisition, which was opposed by former director Walter Hewlett, the son of HP co-founder William Hewlett. The final acquisition price was $19 billion. HP adds the letter Q to its ticker symbol to create "HPQ."

— Feb. 9, 2005: CEO Carly Fiorina steps down amid upheaval about the company's performance following her contested decision to buy Compaq.

— March 29, 2005: Mark Hurd named as new CEO. Starts job in April.

— May 1: IBM sells its personal computer division to Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group for $1.75 billion. IBM now focuses on consulting and software, outsourcing much of its manufacturing.

— July 19: HP announces plans to cut 14,500 jobs, Hurd's first big act as CEO.

— Sept. 22, 2006: HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn is forced from the board over a disastrous investigation into boardroom leaks to the media that included spying on reporters' and directors' phone records.

— Aug. 26, 2008: HP buys Electronic Data Systems, which sells technology services, for $13 billion. A month later, HP announces plans to cut 24,600 jobs as part of integrating the businesses.

— Nov. 11, 2009: HP agrees to buy networking software and equipment maker 3Com Corp. in a $2.7 billion deal.

— April 28, 2010: HP agrees to buy struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc. for nearly $1 billion in cash. It says Palm's webOS operating system will help boost its participation in the mobile market.

— Aug. 6: Hurd resigns as CEO after investigation into a sexual harassment claim finds expense reports that were allegedly falsified to conceal a relationship with an HP marketing contractor.

— Sept. 30: HP names Leo Apotheker CEO. Apotheker was the chief of German business software maker SAP AG, which did not renew his contract after financial performance faltered. HP names Ray Lane, another CEO candidate, as non-executive chairman. Lane is a partner at Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned venture capital firm.

— Jan. 20, 2011: HP shakes up board, replacing four of its members.

— May 3: Leaked memo from Apotheker shows the CEO warning of "another tough quarter" for the company, sending HP's shares sharply lower. The memo says management needs to "watch every penny and minimize all hiring."

— Aug. 18: HP announces it will discontinue its tablet computer and smartphone products and may sell or spin off its PC division.

— Sept. 22: HP fires Apotheker after just 11 months and replaces him with billionaire businesswoman and political aspirant Meg Whitman, who accelerates an internal review on the fate of the PC division. Lane becomes the board's executive chairman.

— Oct. 27: HP says it will keep the PC division after all, saying that keeping it is right for the company, its customers, shareholders and business partners.

— Dec. 9: HP says that instead of selling its webOS mobile system or killing it off, it's making it available as open-source software that anyone can use and modify freely. HP says it still plans to develop and support webOS. In offering it to the open-source community, the company is hoping more mobile apps will be developed under webOS.

— Feb. 22, 2012: Whitman urges investors to be patient and talks of a "multiyear journey" for a turnaround. She says she has a good sense of what the company needs to do, but it will take time to fix HP's internal operations and make investments to grow in areas such as security services, information management and Internet-based systems known as cloud computing.

— March 21: HP says it will combine its PC and printers businesses. The move will save an unspecified amount of money as the company expects improved productivity and efficiency and streamlined customer support and supply chain.

— April 11: Estimates from research groups Gartner and IDC suggest that HP has regained much of the PC business it had lost during the period of indecision.

— May 23: HP says it plans to eliminate 27,000 jobs, the largest payroll purge in its 73-year history. The reductions will affect about 8 percent of its nearly 350,000 employees by the time the overhaul is completed in October 2014. HP hopes to avoid many layoffs by offering early retirement packages. The company expects to save as much as $3.5 billion annually from the job cuts and other austerity measures.

— May 30: Bill Veghte is promoted to chief operating officer, just four months after he was tasked with shaping HP's strategy. He will keep those duties, while HP named an outsider to replace him as head of HP's software division.

— Aug. 8: HP says it will take a massive charge against its earnings for the quarter through July, leading to a record loss of nearly $9 billion. The charge is the result of a writedown of the value of its services business, reflecting that the company overpaid for EDS in 2008. The services business provides information technology and outsourcing services to corporations. It has seen flat revenue for the last two years, and its operating profit has declined.

— Aug. 22: HP reports the largest quarterly loss in its history as it accounted for the EDS business.

— Sept. 10: HP says it plans to cut about 2,000 more jobs than it had previously announced, bringing the total to 29,000 jobs by October 2014.

— Oct. 3: HP says it expects earnings to fall by more than 10 percent in 2013. Whitman says she inherited a bloated company that hasn't been innovating quickly enough in any of its divisions, which span from personal computers and printers to software and data storage. The headaches are so severe that Whitman believes HP's revenue growth might not accelerate again until 2015.

— Nov. 20: HP says it's the victim of a multi-billion dollar fraud at the hands of Autonomy. HP says executives at Autonomy "willfully" boosted the company's figures through various accounting tricks. HP is taking an $8.8 billion charge to align Autonomy's purchase price with what HP now says is its real value. HP says more than $5 billion of that charge is due to false accounting. Lynch says HP's allegations are false.

— Feb. 25, 2013: HP says it is selling its webOS software to South Korean electronics company LG Electronics, securing a new home for a technological orphan. The deal rids HP of the centerpiece of its ill-fated, $1.8 billion purchase of Palm Inc. three years earlier.

— March 20: HP barely rebuffs a shareholder rebellion aimed at ousting the two longest-serving directors from its board as punishment for a series of botched acquisition and other pratfalls. John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson both were re-elected by unusually narrow margins. Lane, the board chairman, was backed by just 59 percent of the vote.

— April 4: HP says Lane is stepping down as chairman, two weeks after a near ousting by shareholders. Hammergren and Thompson are also leaving. Board member Ralph V. Whitworth becomes interim chairman. Lane will stay on HP's board.

— May 22: Even as HP's revenue has declined at the fastest rate yet in a nearly two-year slump, the company delivers fiscal second-quarter earnings that top the estimates of both its own management and the analysts who influence investor perceptions. HP provides Wall Street with another encouraging sign by predicting its earnings for the current quarter will top analyst projections. It also raises its earnings forecast for the full year, another sign that management is confident that HP's profits won't fall as dramatically as many investors feared while the PC market crumbles.

— June 18: Todd Bradley, the head of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s printing and personal computer business, is appointed to a new position in charge of the company's strategy with a focus on China. Whitman says his tasks will include identifying small companies and startups that "could partner with HP to spur growth."

— July 15: HP names three new members to its board: former McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner; Raymond Ozzie, former chief software architect at Microsoft Corp.; and Robert Bennett, former president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp. The appointments boost the number of directors to 12, up from nine. HP says it continues to search for a permanent board chairman.