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Steve Jobs' Efforts to Support Ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd and Protect HP's Legacy

As part of an extensive look at HP and whether CEO Meg Whitman will be able to turn the legendary computer company around, Bloomberg Businessweek shares an anecdote revealing how Steve Jobs reached out to ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd in 2010 both to provide support and to offer assistance with repairing Hurd's relationship with HP in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the company from entering a tailspin.

Hurd's ouster at HP has been compared to Steve Jobs' departure from Apple in 1985, although Hurd was forced out over claims of sexual harassment and improper expense reports.
Three days after he’d resigned as CEO under pressure from the company’s board of directors, Hurd received an e-mail from Steve Jobs. The Apple founder wanted to know if Hurd needed someone to talk to. [...]

Hurd met Jobs at his home in Palo Alto, according to people who know both men but did not wish to be identified, compromising a personal confidence. The pair spent more than two hours together, Jobs taking Hurd on his customary walk around the tree-lined neighborhood. At numerous points during their conversation, Jobs pleaded with Hurd to do whatever it took to set things right with the board so that Hurd could return. Jobs even offered to write a letter to HP’s directors and to call them up one by one.
Jobs argued that a strong HP was vital to a healthy Silicon Valley, and Jobs was worried that the company would falter following the departure of Hurd. Jobs was unsuccessful in his efforts, however, and although he would only live for another year, he did witness the fall of HP under outsider Léo Apotheker.

Jobs had quietly served as a mentor to a number of other tech industry figures, such as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff. Jobs also served as mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, offering advice on a broad array of topics.

Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago

Steve Jobs, we miss you.


This is dumb
Rating: 12 Votes
23 months ago

Hurd's ouster at HP has been compared to Steve Jobs' departure from Apple in 1985, although Hurd was forced out over claims of sexual harassment and improper expense reports.


For some reason, I find that comparison completely absurd.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 months ago
Steve Jobs, we miss you.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 months ago

Steve Jobs, gone but not forgotten.


Only the hard core Apple haters and pseudo techies (basement nerds) refuse to acknowledge that Steve Jobs had, and still has, tremendous influence over Silicon Valley. Almost all of the now famous startups were mentored or modeled their businesses after Steve Jobs and Apple. Even Microsoft, with the decision to produce the whole package of hardware and software, has been influenced over the years. That there is this hateful movement to denigrate and marginalize Jobs' and Apple's place in tech history is shameful. These people are delusional.
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago

Just thinking about the possibility of Steve being right about the importance of HP to silicon valley is scary.


I think they are important in the sense that they are one of the 'true' tech companies and have been around for years - it'd be a great shame to see them go. Maybe they havent always been seen as a remarkable company, but their track record had been decent up to the point that Apotheker took over.

Even in recent times they have done some pretty great stuff. WebOS being a prime example. If you actually take the time to play around on it, you really can see that it was bloody fine work, even if it was made by Palm. Had Apotheker not been so scared of the initial figures, I'd be willing to bet that WebOS would right now be the third major tablet OS (behind iOS and Android obviously).

UI wise it was much nicer to use than any other mobile OS I've ever seen.

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For some reason, I find that comparison completely absurd.


In a way I agree. Although we must not forget that Steves departure was needed - he really was not doing well for Apple at the time. It was the right decision, even if it did cause a big backlash.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

And who is to say that HP wouldn't be exactly where they are now with or without Hurd.


After Hurd came Apotheker, who wasted one year at enormous cost to the company. If they had hired me as CEO and paid me $100 million for playing Minesweeper the company would have done better. Just publishing the idea that HP could leave the PC hardware business cost them gazillions. (You can't go and tell people that you think about leaving a business. You either do it, or you don't do it. I would have been worth the money compared to Apotheker just by playing Minesweeper and not talking about leaving the PC business).
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

For some reason, I find that comparison completely absurd.



I would have agreed with that had I not known how far HP has fallen since then. Since Hurd left, HP hired a software guy to run a hardware company, exited the smartphone and tablet markets (Palm purchased under Hurd) and threw away the $1.2 billion it cost to acquire them, flirted with exiting the PC business, fired the software guy, hired Meg Whitman as CEO who, as an HP board member approved the bonehead moves Apotheker made, laid off 27,000 employees after posting a profit decline of 31%, wrote off $8.8 billion from their purchase of Autonomy and increased the number of pay offs to 29,000.

I bet the HP board wishes everyday, check that, multiple times a day, that they didn't fire Hurd.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

This is dumb


And your comment isn't?
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago
Hurd was the only CEO of HP in the last 10 years who knew what he was doing. He had the right idea in buying Palm (much less expensive than Compaq or Autonomy), but his successor didn't know what to do with it.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago
Steve Jobs, gone but not forgotten.
Rating: 7 Votes

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