Hewlett-Packard shocked the technology industry on Thursday when it made three major announcements on the same day, including its decision to eschew its TouchPad tablet.
In addition to its stunning end of the webOS TouchPad, the company announced it was considering spinning off its legendary PC division and was in talks to acquire software maker Autonomy for $11.7 billion.
Wall Street didn't react positively to the string of announcements: The company's stock price dropped over 20 percent in Friday trading. Part of the sell-off seems to be the quick timing of the TouchPad decision, as the product had only been out for seven weeks and webOS executives seemed to be stunned by the move.
The flavor here is less of 'We are making good, steady progress on a well-thought-out strategy' and more of 'Wow, things are really not going well, we need to do something big!' Motley Fool analyst Matt Koppenheffer told IBTimes. The direction of the move seems right, but the execution appears sloppy.
HP has slashed the price of its TouchPad to as low as $99 in hopes of moving the tablet as quickly as possible. Before the announcement, news broke that Best Buy had sold only 25,000 of its 275,000 TouchPads in stock and was considering trying to send the unsold inventory back to HP.
The nearly $300 discount appears to be working -- reports indicate that stores across the country are selling the TouchPads at a rapid pace and Best Buy is now limiting customers to one purchase per person.
But with the end of its TouchPad tablets, HP faces a major transition period. It needs to figure out what to do with the webOS format it paid $1.2 billion for in 2010, and the company needs to figure out its new focus if it ends up spinning off its PC division, as rumored. One company that HP could aspire to be like is IBM, which was able to successfully reinvent itself as more than just a hardware maker.
HP lost about $16 billion from its market cap after the three decisions and could stand to lose even more in the near future, but Koppenheffer says that if investors can show extreme patience there could be money to be made on HP.
The time to buy is often when nobody else wants anything to do with a given stock, and that certainly seems to be the case with HP right now, Koppenheffer said Investors jumping in now would need heaps of patience though because the transformation and shift in investor sentiment -- if they happen at all -- could take some time.