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HP Dumps Linux for Windows XP MCE in New Media Player 225

An anonymous reader writes "There hasn't been much said about this, but HP's new z545 Digital Entertainment Center appears to be a Windows-based re-spin of an earlier Linux-based model that HP unveiled three years ago at the Tech X NY trade show in New York, and which was sold for some time as the de100c Digital Entertainment Center. Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left."
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HP Dumps Linux for Windows XP MCE in New Media Player

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  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <> on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:18AM (#10732661) Journal
    What seems to be most clear from the article is that HP is interested in developing these devices but not interested in actually doing a significant amount of the R&D for it. With Linux, though they had a large amount of control over the featureset as well as the functionality at a low level, they probably spent too much money performing the customizations. With Microsoft doing all the development, HP is free to focus on the look and feel of the device rather than the OS level driver tweaking.

    In this day and age, the operating system is pretty much a commodity. It is the software features on top that give a device any sort of real value. Since a device like this never exposes the underlying operating system to users, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money developing something yourself, especially when someone else has already invested the development effort.

    So blue screen jokes aside, this is probably a good business decision for HP. Maybe not so good for those embedded Linux engineers who don't have a job on that team anymore, but fiscally the best choice for the company.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's a great decision. I mean you don't use a server os for playing your illegal mp3's right? Sounds like Windows has found it's appropriate market niche.. toys

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:33AM (#10732695)
      Actually what I think is much more likely is the new generation of DRM products that will come out soon to lock in customers.

      Microsoft is pushing DRM-enabled products and the mass media makers mostly agree. So since it would be easier to buy compatable products then try to recreate compatable ones in Linux while facing legal hurdles and patent problems.

      Embedded Linux is very mature nowadays, their is nothing that is more expensive when it comes to developing linux platform then windows, it's all already been done by other companies.

      The future or DRM media seems much more likely, considuring that this sort of thing is microsoft's and the mass media's baby and they are making a media player after all.

      Don't worry. It'll be a flop. There is no advatage of this device over a Laptop towards the high-end, or a tablet pc towards the retarded end, or a pocket-pc type device on the low/small end. (after all a decent NEW laptop can be had for around 600 bucks nowadays, and it'll only get cheaper) They are aiming for a market niche that either doesn't exist or is so small they will fail even if they reach full market saturation.
      • So since it would be easier to buy compatable products then try to recreate compatable ones in Linux while facing legal hurdles and patent problems.

        Except there is supposed to a version of Windows Media [], with DRM support for embedded Linux.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If its just another device running XP - where's the distinguishing factor that makes this one better than the competitors which also run XP? Why should customers buy HP's device when so many others, perhaps cheaper ones, have exactly the same user interface for better or worse?

        Where's the innovation?
        • Where's the innovation?

          Marketing and price.

          What distinguishes HP from eMachines on the shelves of Best Buy? Since they are both generally crap, they make up for it with neat-looking plastic on the front, putting RCA jacks in the floppy bay of some models, and putting meaningless words like "accelerated", "professional", "educational", and "multimedia" here and there. Throw in a free crap inkjet printer somewhere, and the marks march right on out of the store with a new found credit card balance. Brown
    • That makes sense. It boils down to whether HP can recoup the cost of their additional development by the savings of going with linux. For the volume that these entertainment pc's are going to sell... probably not.
    • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @05:09AM (#10732790) Homepage
      That is besides the fact that if it wants to sell any to "Joe Average Consumer" it will have to support some DRM. As apple does not want to license its own, the choice boils down to Microsoft and Microsoft.

      The EU comission was bloody right to start investigating MSFT DRM ambitions. Unfortunately the next commissioner is almost as rabid in Bill-arse-licking as Tony Bliar so we may see this one going down the drain. Bummer...
    • Indeed. HP's decision to rebadge the iPod can be seen in a similar context.


      Sheeyeh, right,
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This makes perfect sense if you understand the current management culture in the "new" HP. Bill and Dave (the deceased founders of HP for you youngsters) wanted HP products to "contribute to the state of the art" and often had potential products withheld from the market if they didn't meet that test (sometimes to the annoyance of potential customers; I was one). In those days, "Invent" wasn't part of the logo. It was part of the culture.

      Under current management the only "Invent"ion going on is in finding
    • I agree with 'commodity' in the sense that MS have cut thier embedded prices to hook the market in and castrate them while they are naive.

      However, now in long term, if MS have done what i think they have done, the development costs for moving away from winsucks might be a little wierd.

      Then they will jack up thier prices and laugh a hearty fat bellied laugh.

      Then quick as a flash HP says, oh Python runs on Linux as well, lets try this:

      BOFH style *tap clickety click tap*

      It runs linux! omg wooooo lets open
    • Actually, it's just an obvious step in order to extend the functionality of the XBox presence that is in many homes already. You remember the "Media Extender" package that was announced a week or two ago, right? This is all part of Microsoft's initiative to take over the living room. Not all that surprising that they'd convince HP to go with their own product, actually. They've been trying to do it for years.
  • "There hasn't been much said about this, but HP's new z545 Digital Entertainment Center appears to be a Windows-based re-spin of an earlier Linux-based model... Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left."

    Or maybe not much is said about it because it's not such a big deal if a company launches one more Windows-powered device?

    Seriously, it's not like this makes them all evil or something (although some would say they already are, what with them having killed Alpha in favor of Itanic etc).
    • Re:BFD (Score:2, Funny)

      by gilesjuk ( 604902 )
      Well if Microsoft can make the system tidy and appliance-like that's fine. There's nothing worse than the interface dying and the Windows desktop appearing. That and when you get an error and a dialog box appears that you can't cancel.

      See ATMs for examples of these.
  • M$ Is Just Bullying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nukem996 ( 624036 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:23AM (#10732674)
    Microsoft has had this recent trend to push a stripped down version of Windows XP on all "Media Devices." I was at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Technology were M$ launched the Windows Media Center or what ever its called for devices like this. [] While linux might do it better M$ has done all the hard work for these companies and made it intigrated into Win XP so its "easier for users." Ive played with a few of these and found it anything but easy. This is just M$s way of competing with the iPod.
  • by has2k1 ( 787264 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:25AM (#10732682)
    Embedded inside the HP entertainment system are most of the functions of a desktop PC. In this case, that includes a 566 MHz Intel Celeron processor, 64MB of RAM, and a 40 Gigabyte hard disk.

    ./ers know that whatever has a processor HAS linux in it's genes. I know it will not take long to port the latest kernel to it.

    what hurts me though are the $$ that finally get to naughty bill for the embedded windows. HP should consider bare-bones.

    • Those specs were from the Linux based predecessor of this device. This device has a 3 GHz Pentium 4 processor and 200 GB internal hard drive. Also, I don't think linux needs to be "ported" ... it already supports the hardware. The question is whether the application software (not OS) functionality can be mimicked closely enough.
    • ./ers know that whatever has a processor HAS linux in it's genes.

      Try porting Linux to the Apple IIgs sometime.

    • For what you spent on that HP system, you could have had an EPIA M-10000 box and had a hell of a lot more capabilities- I mean, why bother? I'm pretty sure it's going to flop hard in light of the fact that D-Link's got a better product out for $199- and isn't muddied with desktop functionality (Why would you need that? Surfing the web on your TV? Unless you've got an HD capable monitor, you're not really going there- TV's are evil, resolution-wise.) and works with wireline and 802.11g
    • It's a 3GHz P4 mobo designed to hook into a TV, etc. Not the 566MHz Celeron that was indicated in the grandparent post.

      It's probably going to cost ~$600-1000 and might be worth dinking with to put Linux on. However, I stand by the thinking that you can get comparable functionality without going to them for it. This is going to flop on expense more than anything else.

      Again, like my original reply, why bother? Because it's there? You can do as good or better for that money- and not pay the Windows tax
    • HP should consider bare-bones.

      Why would they do that?

      Hewlett-Packard sells computers to people who want to just unpack everything and plug it in and it will work. If you want a bare-bones PC that you have to invest some of your own time and effort in before it'll boot up, there's plenty of other OEMs that sell them.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:26AM (#10732683) Homepage
    I'm guessing we won't be privy to information surrounding this, but if by some coincidence someone with access to the information at HP is reading this..?

    I'd like to see some data comparing the two devices in terms of reliability, customer satisfaction, rate of returns and junk like that.

    I know why *I* would prefer one version of the product over another because if I know there's Linux inside, I want to play with it. But Joe consumer doesn't usually know one way or the other so I'm interested in a manufacturer's perspective on this. They care about whether a [version of a] product is widely accepted, MTBF (mean time between failure), rate of returns and junk like that.

    If the main difference between the two devices is the OS underneath, it would be a terrific opportunity to see the impact that the OS choice makes in the creation of a consumer product is concerned.
    • I'm not an HP exec, but here oges
      Here's the new machine specs [].
      And this [] is the Linux equivalent, circa 2001.
      Now which one would you take?
      It's just a nice x86 machine in a dvd-player form-factor, with manufacturer-supplied drivers for all the components.
      I've been using Linux for years, but what value is linux going to add for a machine like this? the MTBF,cust satisfaction is all a load of bull.
      • Well actually, if it adds nothing to any of those things then it could only serve one purpose:

        Lower cost of licensing.
      • I've been using Linux for years, but what value is linux going to add for a machine like this?

        What Linux adds to the mix is highly questionable. Microsoft has done an excellent job of partitioning the market so that only their proprietary codecs play the hot-new-release-of-the-week video streams correctly and as others have pointed out, DRM will magnify the problem by orders of magnitude.

        There are also patent concerns. Much of the software under Linux that views video is either having to use binary-only
  • Wait a minute... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill_Royle ( 639563 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:28AM (#10732688)
    HP's been at the top at some point technology-wise?

    I'd argue that HP has been going downhill in terms of innovative products even *before* Perens headed out.
    • Yep. They started outsourcing their scanning engines too, and now you can't get programming info anymore. HP has some severe issues, much like Sun, except HP has a profitable Compaq server line and Printers. Everything else is in trouble. By going with CE, they have ensured that their product is a "me-too" ho-hum product.
  • by DJ XpL0iT ( 828323 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:28AM (#10732689)
    Is it possible that HP used the earlier iteration of the device to push home it's economies of scale message with Microsoft?

    There has been a few stories recently where local governments, schools and SMBs have used Linux as leverage to get MS to drop their prices.

    HP is just as much a customer of MS in the OEM market as anybody else...They would have to negotiate what they pay for their OEM licenses that they include with their consumer PCs. Any drop in what they pay MS for the OEM licenses translates into pure profit for HP without changing the sticker price.

    Granted that these media centre devices have a reasonable chance of providing market penetration where PCs will not go (I'm thinking the poorer end of the socioeconomic demographic), and the aforementioned "linux as leverage" strategy, MS may have been prepared to give up some percentage on their OEM license fees for ALL of HPs product range to get MS MCE onto these devices.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:40AM (#10732715)
      I doubt it.

      It's the DRM media angle.

      In the near future everybody is hoping that DRM-enabled digital media will make a big splash, and if you want to play that stuff you need Microsoft.

      It would be stupid for HP to release a device now that would be incapable of playing most forms of protected media six to twelve months from now.

      I hope that DRM crap won't take off, but I doubt HP is willing to take that risk. So they spend more money on MS's crap in the hope that it will keep their device relevent in the forseeable future.

      It's not like it's going to cost them much, almost people who buy computers nowadays pays the MS tax, so worst case for HP is that they'd have to raise the price of their products by 40 dollars (at most).

  • My Guess (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotoriousQ ( 457789 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:36AM (#10732702) Homepage
    I think they did this to be able to use WMA format.

    I would be surprised if Microsoft provides a linux compatable WMA codec, and I do not know if they license the algorithm or code. Is there any information whether WMA can be licensed to use on linux?

    If not, then this is probably the reason.
    • WMA can be reverse engineered. Of course, this is probably illegal in the US, so a US-based company would most likely not sell products containing an RE'd WMA codec...
    • Re:My Guess (Score:5, Informative)

      by glMatrixMode ( 631669 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:57AM (#10732763)
      You know TurboLinux 10 F ( ? A commercial distro that comes with legal-in-the-US, proprietary codecs like WMA (and also DVD decryption). From their website
      Turbolinux is the first distribution to license the official Microsoft WMF codecs.

      So the answer to your question is yes. Now I really didn't want to give it free advertising, as I think that it's wrong to encourage proprietary, closed formats like WMA.
    • Re:My Guess (Score:2, Informative)

      by blowdart ( 31458 )
      I posted the link earlier, but Intervideo [] have a license to produce WMA/WMV with DRM products for Linux.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:39AM (#10732711)
    My missus works at HP and they have always been totally run by the decisions that Microsoft enforces on them anyway, particularly since the Compaq merger.

    Through my job it telecoms, I've been to a number of IBM sites in my travels and the Linux presence is openly on show at all of the sites I've visited whereas the missus says she's never heard Linux mentioned at HP, even though she's involved in their internal IT support.

    This shouldn't really come as a great shock to anyone - having worked for Lucent in the good old Carly Fiorina days, that woman typifies the role of "corporate whore" and will name drop just about any cool and emerging technology she can just to make her empty speeches sound more impressive.

    Digital is no more, Tru64 is dead and HP simply never were and never will be a true Linux player - they're basically just a hardware arm of Microsoft these days.

    • I personally maintain several Linux/*BSD boxes internally, there are quite a few employees running some flavor of linux on their desktop, usually Mandrake, SuSE or RedHat/Fedora (there are even corporate images of a couple of distros) and there is a fairly large open source team here. While on some level what your wife says might have some truth, you shouldn't paint the whole company with the same brush.

    • by Shirotae ( 44882 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#10733619)

      ... the missus says she's never heard Linux mentioned at HP, even though she's involved in their internal IT support.

      Internal IT support is not the best place in HP to hear about Linux. The people who use Linux tend to need much less help from IT support, which is just as well, because IT support is probably one of the few places in HP that still denies the existence or value of Linux. The idea of HP as a hardware arm of Microsoft is how IT support would like it to be, it is not an accurate picture of either internal use or external offerings.

      As for changes that came with Carly, before she came, mentioning Linux was a very risky thing to do. Saying that a project used Linux was a good way to get it cancelled. It turned around to being a good thing to be connected with fairly soon after Carly arrived. There is a very active Linux community inside HP, as anyone who really worked there, and had any interest in the question would know.

  • I tend to think theses consumer devices sells mostly to users just willing to use them plain.

    What is the proportion of hobby hackers, buying theses devices and choosing Linux based ones with stright intention to actualy hack them ?

    Do average consumer care much about the nick names of the internal componants they don't even know about it to be there ?

    This thing has an operating system ? (Oh great, and how do I enable this function ?)

    And it even run Linux inside you know ?! (Well, I just need to watch and record video and music)

    Well, it may look a squewed point here.

    Who buy what and, what are the consumers IBM is looking at ?

    Wouildn't hacker be more satisfyed with these nices open sources projects, like MythTv, Freevo or VDR loaded in a custum mini-itx home build media center ?

    As of now, I'm not sure if selling stuffs for hackers is relevant for IBM.
  • Carly Fiorina (Score:4, Informative)

    by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:50AM (#10732741)
    Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left.

    The joint started going downhill when Carly Fiorina [] took over.
    • Re:Carly Fiorina (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Donny Smith ( 567043 )
      >The joint started going downhill when Carly Fiorina took over.

      If things were going good, she'd never have taken over in the first place.

      >>Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left.

      This (by the article author, not the parent post) is such a fucking dumb-ass comment... Spicing things up the /. way... Moron.
  • Smart Move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:59AM (#10732766) Homepage Journal
    I think it's a smart move. The Linux geeks will put Linux on it anyway. Those who want Windows get it for cheap. Everybody gets what they want, everybody happy.
  • I mourn for HP. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @05:01AM (#10732772)
    HP is dead. It used to be a scientific/technical company on the cutting edge of science and technology. It has ceased to be anything of any importance. Instead of hardware that people will never part with (I'll give up my 48G when I'm *dead*), Carly Fiorina has turned that company into a "Brand" that markets a commodity. Brands are a dime a dozen. The HP brand trades on its history and when people realize that HP is not the HP of history, the Brand of HP will be worth exactly what Carly has turned it into:


    HP symbolizes to me what happens when MBAs and Accountants run businesses. When your goal is merely meeting the numbers at the end of the quarter, you do not see the long view of the future. You simply go with the lowest common denominator, stagnate, and lose customers in the long run. The death of such a company does not take long. Witness the Race to the Bottom between Compaq and Packard Bell. Both are gone, and it only took a year or two to happen.

    Thanks, Carly, for killing one of my favorite companies.

    • I agree with the parent. The moment HP stopped concentrating on brown sauce, I lost all respect. I'm switching to Daddie's.
    • So what choices do we have for servers? Dell isn't exactly showing itself to be fully behind the OSS movement, is it? I had to buy a rack mount 1U server - and I went with a DL360 G3, as it's what we buy at work, and I know it works perfectly under Gentoo.
      So, apart from Dell, and Compaq(HP), who is there for x86/amd64 servers?
    • Good troll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      HP symbolizes to me what happens when MBAs and Accountants run businesses.

      As opposed to who? Techies? Techies that would demand open source everything, and drive the company into the ground faster than you can say "profit!" To lump all MBA's together is short sighted. In case you just fell off the turnip truck, almost every large business on the planet is run by MBA's. So before you go knocking an entire educational track, you should look into who runs the companies that made all of the computer stu
  • Why do we care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @05:11AM (#10732799)
    Honestly, who gives a damn what OS it runs? As long as it works, let it go.
    • Re:Why do we care? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by melonman ( 608440 )
      And could it be, shock horror, that they ditched the Linux version because, gasp, it didn't sell very well, and that maybe this was because, swoon, Linux in 2001 wasn't that great a choice for running a multimedia system? If they had axed a top-selling product, there might be a story here. As it is, the story appears to be "there are some arguments in favour of using other operating systems". Which I suppose might count as news to some people here, but probably not to the world at large.
    • Nice tasty DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 )
      We care because:
      MS-based Multimedia OS==DRM. DRV==restriction.
      Restriction==it doesn't work for us, or at least not the way we want to

      It's called a bandwagon. If more companies keep jumping on it, then it tends to become the default path-of-choice. Do you really want 99% of media products out there to be laden with MS DRM?
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @05:30AM (#10732852) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft stated they wanted to be the major company for home media, and following that trend of embrace, extended and buy out, you can expect more companies to choose microsoft due to cheap contracts with almost free support.

    Microsoft is already trying to take the HDDVD consumer market with WM9, this is just another area for them to get a foothold.

    It will be the same tactic they have used in the PC Vendor market for years. Microsoft will give the product away, vendors will bite, use the product, then get locked it.

    And companies no longer look for the long term goals, just what makes money the next quarter. If HP was smart, they would stick with linux, develop the software they own, and pay no licensing fees. You think they would have learned from their past experiences with Microsoft.

    Call me jaded, but I see the trend everywhere, sell/buy now, whatever makes my books look good this year. This is how CEO's dump and run companies, and why mergers are so common.

    Now, think 5 years from now, HP's product will look like everyone elses, what will be the difference? Nothing, they use the same software, the hardware is off the shelf. The CEO's will sell HP, another merger. Meanwhile, another billion for Microsoft.

    It's good to be the only vendor, the only one choice. Er, lack of choice I should say. I bet Microsoft's stock goes up again tomorrow from this news.
  • HP Sauce (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:03AM (#10732935) Journal
    This company isn't really HP, it became something else when Carly Fiorina took over running the company. In any case, Carly Fiorina said at the beginning of this year, that she aimed to put rigorously enforced DRM on all HP's devices. Meanwhile MS is busting a gut trying to sell its new DRM technologies to everyone. It's easy to see how Linux just doesn't fit into that strategy particulary well, and Microsoft does.
  • Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SinaSa ( 709393 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:10AM (#10732953) Homepage
    O.K so all of my bias, etc aside. I think this is a good idea for HP. Let's think about it.

    1. Assuming a semi stable enviroment (which I class WinXP MCE as) the user will probably never see much of a difference between Linux or MS. They won't see the underlying difference.

    2. There is no equivalent of MPlayer for linux that won't get HP in trouble. If they start selling off these things with linux on them they'll have to use MPlayer to get any sort of decent functionality and MS/Apple/everyone else will sue the pants off them.

    3. Linux is inherently OSS. It isn't going to be as easy to build DRM checking into it as it is for Windows MCE. Now I'm not sure if HP is onto a good idea or not, but let's say it is. So this thing gets big, and without DRM they become a target for the RIAA. Now they aren't in a situation like Apple/iTunes, but things could still get ugly.
    • HP would have to do what Linspire and TurboLinux have done... license the codecs from Microsoft. It would probably cost them as much per machine as it does anyway to get them bundled in with the Media Edition of the Embedded Windows product anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:20AM (#10732978)
    I find it hard to compare the functionality of these 2 systems.
    The first one had:
    - a cd rewriter.

    It offered:
    - playing of music.

    The second one has
    - 2(!) tuners
    - a processor which can easily decode 3 dvd's parallel
    - a video card which will be able to play doom3 (once the linux install is done)
    - look at the I/O (which is the most important thing)

    So, it is easy to see why the first one was a big miss: It didn't have/promise any functionality.

    The big minuses about this system:
    - a fan/harddisk. You don't want fans or harddisk hums in your living room. They are really anoying!
    - $2000 for that?
    - No DVB (digital tv), so it is already outdated before it is selling. (you can attach a DVB-USB device. Ah, and which software is going to support that? Just wait for the linux install guys).
  • hype's over ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 ( 232451 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:41AM (#10733028) Journal
    do this anouncement means the hype of "linux everywhere" is over ?

    let's face it, guys. all products/technologies goes though an over-hype period during its life where it's sold as fix-all do-all solution for all mankind's problems. then people realize that it's not quite like that, the product/technology is loathed because it didn't deliver, the it gets to the point we all hope linux gets to: it becomes a mature technology.

    maybe it's already mature enough for the server and some embeded appliances, it's maturing quickly in the handhelds and maybe now it's time to tackle the media-center maturing proccess. maybe not from greedy brands like HP, but maybe from some unexpected source. after the media center is taken, maybe the hype of "linux on desktop" will be already fading, which will means the start of the maturing proccess in this field too, but i'm digressing here.

    let's give time for linux to mature as a media-player and wait. a breakthrough in this area will certainly come from a really inovative comapny. i'm just certain it wont be HP.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    it is my internet radio which runs windows (ce?) and even with upgrades it is not able to play the latest windows media streams. go figure.
    I buy a machine with windows embedded and they(hw company+ms) are not even able to keep it compatible within their own framework.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:37AM (#10733175)
    Just got handed a Windows Mobile powered phone by my company. It takes about two minutes to boot, it's slow to operate and has crashed a couple of times doing settings changes.

    I've now gone back to my Nokia 6310i - it does all I need it to do alongside my Linux-powered Sharp Zaurus PDA so Microsoft can go figure...

  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:47AM (#10733203) Homepage
    HP has lost it completely. In their zeal to compete with Dell, Gateway and IBM they made a couple of accidental gunshot wounds to the head:

    * Spun off several sources of invention and innovation when they spun off Agilent.
    * Purchased Compaq in an ill advised grab for market share. Their reason: they wanted Digital's professional services...
    * Alienated their dealership channel by trying to be Dell and sell direct.

    They will lose their independence sometime in the next few years when someone else wants to try to knock off IBM and Dell and wants HP -er- COmpaq -er- Digital's professional services unit.

    And HP's CEO is an idiot.
    • * Purchased Compaq in an ill advised grab for market share. Their reason: they wanted Digital's professional services...

      I always thought this was a funny reason for HP to purchase Compaq, since a lot of the Digital professional services declined so much once Compaq bought DEC. I know there were still services left, but all the former DEC consultants I knew (and we worked with DEC a lot) started leaving and were disappointed with the merger and working for Compaq.

    • You are correct in two of your points. where you err is in this one:

      * Purchased Compaq in an ill advised grab for market share. Their reason: they wanted Digital's professional services...

      That was part of the deal, but hardly the best or most important, as the DEC services were an increasingly small and troublesome part of compaq, and have proven to be a real money loser for HP. The REAL reason for the Compaq merger was this:

      HR, specifically: Pay Curves, Benefits, and Vacation.

      In all three categorie

      • HR, specifically: Pay Curves, Benefits, and Vacation.

        In all three categories HP provided VASTLY better environments for their workers. By merging with Compaq, Carly was able to adopt the Compaq HR policies combined with HP's flatter structure, resulting in MILLIONS of dollars saved. Every Year. Forever.

        They also made the classic mistake that if you merge two companies that do roughly the same thing, you can preserve market share and cut people and make profits. What usually happens when you do this is
  • Hard Work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @08:21AM (#10733282)
    Developing software is hard work. Developing products is hard work. Dealing with customers is hard work -- especially big ones like HP. Seeing the future, writing a spec and releasing a feature set requires time, talent, capital and a willingness to take a risk -- in this case, a big risk.

    Linux got a leg up on Microsoft when HP released its Linux-based product. Then, no one cared enough to do the hard work needed to compete with MS. Don't complain about a bad decision at HP or another case of MS taking over a new market. Linux didn't lose the game. Linux never came out for the second inning.
  • Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left.
  • Honestly I don't blame them in the least for making this decision. Playing media on Linux is a real pain nowadays. Media codecs are all proprietary, and very few, if any, are licensed for Linux. Also, DRM is a very big concern for content producers, so using Linux would mean figuring out how to hamstring the device to deny users the ability to use their media. Heck, Linux media is all about taking Windows codecs and using them through software anyway. What a licensing hassle! I think HP is better served in
  • I guess I can stop imagining a beowulf cluster of these.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito