Memo to Meg Whitman: How to fix HP

So, it will take until at least 2014 before we see signs of a turnaround at HP.

That makes perfect sense. You’ve inherited a tough gig and some of your predecessors weren’t as smart as they, or the HP board, thought they were.

Your job is a marathon, not a sprint to the tape. So long as you don’t do anything stupid, like the last boss, the owners will give you some leeway. They don’t expect instant results.

HP is a huge, sprawling business. Its margins are unexceptional, its consulting business is second-rate, its product book is huge and possibly out of control. And the company’s image, well, let’s just say, it isn’t good.

You’re never going to turn HP into another Apple. That’s not possible.

But you can simplify those product lines. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

According to Computerworld, HP has 2,100 laser printer models. That’s 2,095 too many.

I bet Apple doesn’t even carry 2,100 products across the entire business.

Less is more. Offering customers choice is overrated. They’ve no idea which models to buy anyway, it is way too complicated.

Apple became the world’s biggest company on the back of three or four product lines. Each of those products is brilliant.

You told Computerworld you plan to halve the number of printer models over the next year. Don’t stop there.

Make fewer things. Sell fewer things. And make sure they are good.

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