During this period, the first inklings of a portion of HP splitting from the company occurred. The company's PC business was valuable enough to consider selling or splitting from the main company. Apotheker spoke about the potential spin-off, sending ripples through the market. Public knowledge of this indecision further hurt HP's brand (HP remains a big player in the PC market with about 17.4% of the market share in 2015's second quarter).
The HP TouchPad tablet floundered in a market dominated by Apple's iPad and was quickly discontinued less than two months after its launch when Apotheker announced that all webOS-based devices would be cut.
Also during this period, A New York Times story revealed that HP's board of directors was dealing with no shortage of internal strife. It also predicted that Apotheker's time as CEO would be short. The latter prediction was correct; HP's board fired Apotheker in September 2011 less than a year after being named CEO. Even before his firing, rumors swirled that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman would be named as Apotheker's replacement. A 2012 Fortune magazine story would later confirm some of the dysfunction and state that HP "had lost its way."
Meg Whitman was the next CEO to step up to HP. Whitman's resume includes her tenure as CEO of eBay during the dot-com bubble burst, helping bolster opinion that she would be able to help turn the struggling company around. Others worried that she would be another Apotheker since her primary experience was with e-commerce.
One of Whitman's first acts as CEO was to announce that HP will not splinter off its PC division, a move considered publicly by her predecessor.
Whitman's five-year plan to turn around HP becomes public. Despite continuing declines, the company's debt reduction, improvements in cash flow and other balance-sheet improvements are seen in the annual report for the 2012 fiscal year.
Whitman's approach to reversing the company's fortunes is to introduce cloud-based products, reducing HP's workforce through layoffs and retirements and a new advertising campaign.
HP launches HP Next, a vertical dedicated to providing the public with news about HP's progress. Many news releases, including the initial split and announcements about the leadership at HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are available online there.
HP announces that the company will be split into two separate companies, one focusing on printers and computers and the other on business software. Whitman tells the press and public that the split is part of her plan to save HP. The initial deadline for the split is the end of the company's 2015 fiscal year. CEO Whitman told The Wall Street Journal that HP's stronger financial position made the idea of splitting more attractive than it had been in 2011.
HP's fiscal year begins November 1. A final quarterly report and a final annual report will be released shortly after this date, showing how HP's last quarter ends.
The two companies HP will form will be large enough to remain in the top half of the Fortune 500 list (HP is ranked at 19 in the latest edition and HP's last as the Hewlett Packard Co, a decline from the previous year's 17 rank.)
The goal is to create two companies "nimble" enough to thrive in the highly competitive technology market dominated by smartphones, apps and cloud computing.