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HP's Dunn as Newsweek Cover Girl 198

theodp writes "In The Boss Who Spied on Her Board, Newsweek likens HP Chairwoman Pattie Dunn's attempts to escape culpability with her I-knew-nothing defense to both a head of state, who wants 'plausible deniability' while ordering an assassination plot, and to Henry II, who had the Archbishop of Canterbury removed by simply muttering 'Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?' in front of his knights."
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HP's Dunn as Newsweek Cover Girl

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  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @03:24PM (#16076983)
    The real sadness in all this is that HP started off as an icon of geekdom, "The American Way", and many other pure and virtuous themes. Since then it has been Carley'ed and generally fucked over in many ways.

    At one stage, HP was "the best". They made the best calculators, best test equipment, best everything they touched. Their slide probably started with getting into the commodity PC industry (PCs and printers).

  • Re:limelight dims (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @03:25PM (#16076988)
    I don't think it's a gender issue. They don't teach falling-down-on-your-own-sword in the business schools anymore. These days you get a brownie point for blaming the next guy/gal over and/or the news media. Taking personal responsibiity is so old school.
  • Re:limelight dims (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Denis The SQL Menace ( 1001608 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @03:26PM (#16076994) Homepage
    The board meeting is today, I predict she will step down after they ask her to "Dunn has no plans to step down but would do so if asked by the board, according to HP spokesman Ryan Donovan. HP's board plans to meet Sunday, he added."
  • Re:limelight dims (Score:5, Insightful)

    by springbox ( 853816 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @03:50PM (#16077077)
    Honestly from what I've seen of this, I think women in responsible positions are given a tougher time then men.

    What this person did is just totally inexcusable and they came out looking like a total dimwit on top of it. Who cares about their sex? What this person did was WRONG and they deserved to be given a hard time. If a man (and again, why does it matter) did the same thing I can guarantee that people aren't going to hesitate to criticize him. So maybe the question you should ask is given two people of different sexes (hypothetically) who commit the exact same crime under the same circumstances, why should we treat them differently?

  • by javakah ( 932230 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @04:17PM (#16077168)
    Hmm, look at it this way: Spying to find out who other people are calling, and justifying it by not having actually listened to the phone calls. Sound familiar? Sound like the logic of a certain President? Sadly, this actually is "The American Way" now.
  • by vleck ( 134134 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @04:39PM (#16077243)
    The Black Adder! It's depressing that I remember more history from The Black Adder than years of public education in the UK. One of the best comedy series ever!
  • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @04:50PM (#16077276)
    Spy on a large customer that might be planning to jump to another vendor for major IT services? Spy on business partners or VARs? Flat out, the reason there are so many leaks surrounding HP is that the behavior (starting during Fiorina's reign) of the management and the board was terrible. Of course there were leaks. It's the only way to ever put the brakes on the amoral behavior of scumbags like these. The way they've been treaing people for years? Of course there are disgruntled people leaking information. They're lucky it hasn't been worse. I expect, now that Dunn has been wounded finding the leaker, the board's going to have to pull an "Old Yeller" and get her off before everyone else is contaminated. It may be too late, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 10, 2006 @04:53PM (#16077292)
    If private investigators are acting illegally, they are the ones whose names should be known. They are the ones who are supposed to go to jail, and lose their licenses.

    Private investigators ARE licensed. They ARE supposed to act WITHIN the law. If any company chooses to hire licensed private investigators, then it's understandable that you assume this, i.e. don't necessarily need to ask questions about their precise methods.

    Who were these so-called private investigators? Is this is the first time these private investigators have broken the law in order to get a paycheck? Who were their other clients prior to their HP contract? If the P.I.'s were ordered to do something illegal, why didn't they object?

    Why aren't the journalists focusing on them?

  • Re:Turbulent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @04:54PM (#16077294)
    Sorry, I'm not American so it didn't occur to me that school-kid knowledge of history would be regarded as elitism.

    Funny, i've always heard it as "will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest," although admitedly neither i nor i expect any other american actually learned about it in school as a child, so it is most certainly _not_ "school-kid knowledge of history" for everyone. Secondly, if you want people to listen to you you might want to adopt a slightly less agressive tone. "If you're going to quote someone at least get it right" is much more likely to be taken as elitism than a phrase like "i was told the original quote was" or something along those lines.

    And lastly, before you chastise someone else for getting the quote wrong, make sure you yourself have got it right. Wikipedia certainly isn't infallible, but their page on Thomas Becket [wikipedia.org] says it was "passionate words from the angry king" and then lists several phrases that were reputedly used, so no one is really sure what the exact utterance was to begin with. Not to mention the fact that this was during the period when middle english was being spolen and what he said probably only had a passing relationship with a modern english interpretation of the same words. I therefore strongly suspect that _all_ of us are wrong, or all of us are right, depending on how you choose to look at it. It seems rather unlikely however that you can conclusively proove you are more correct than the person you corrected.

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday September 10, 2006 @05:09PM (#16077370)
    SHE was ethical... as much as any slashdotter that gets cheated out of money.

    The 2nd part of that makes no sense. And no, she was NOT ethical in this.
    What all the slashdot hype misses is a fortune 500 board member was leaking info to the press... even after the entire board was notified of the investigation, this board member continuined to leak confidential employee reviews, and stratagy meeting results...

    Just because one person is not ethical does not make it ethical to take un-ethical actions to find that person.
    We all say people like Apple should "clean their house" and stop threatening reporters and such. Well that's exactly what she did.

    Nooooooo..... it seems that she STARTED investigating reporters. And people related to reporters.
    It wasn't even Dunn that offically authorized it...

    Drop the word "officially". Dunn authorized it. Dunn instigated it. It is Dunn's responsibility.
    Fact of the matter is that most of the board didn't object to the investigation.

    And so ... ?
    If some other people don't object, that does not make it ethical.
    The spying would have been fine for an employee alleged to do the same things.. the one resigning board member was only upset that he was not allowed to "spin" the investigation because the CEO went over the board's head because THEY weren't faithful.

    No, it would not be. This type of behaviour is un-ethical no matter who the target is.
    This whole thing is really blown out of proportion.

    No, it has not.
    I'm hoping that, because of this, the "pretexting" practice becomes a Federal Crime.
    It's really more of a "cheating husband" thing.... people with power, position, and money, couldn't be bothered to keep the privacy of fellow board members and employees.

    "couldn't be bothered"?
    She hired a company to actively search for information.

    And when she received their report, she did NOT ask how they came up with information that would not be available outside of a court order.

    That is un-ethical.
    She is un-ethical.
  • Re:Turbulent (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 10, 2006 @05:14PM (#16077394)
    I think whatever words he said he would have said them in French. 1066 and all that...
  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @06:56PM (#16077754)
    I disagree. Corporate governance is important. I'm pretty sure I couldn't get away with what Dunn has done. Now my question is whether my bosses could.
  • Re:Turbulent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @07:36PM (#16077874) Homepage
    First of all, it comes as no surprise to me that there is some debate as to the actual phrase. You should be really really careful when you correct somebody over a trivial matter because more often than not, you're running headlong into a tangential nerd-cliff where everybody stops looking at the forest and starts arguing over one leaf on one tree in that forest.

    Nobody ever said Let them eat cake [yahoo.com] either, but correcting somebody when they utter those words to illustrate a point is about as pedantic as you can be. If the meaning of the phrase is retained, and the message is succinctly conveyed, what the hell is so important about the words unless you're quoting them with the actual intention of accurate archival?
  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:07PM (#16078576) Journal
    I'm going to try again:

    The real sadness in all this is that HP started off as an icon of geekdom, "The American Way", and many other pure and virtuous themes.

    When was this exactly? This sounds like an idealized romanticized view of someone who doesn't actually know what they're talking about. Sure HP has made great products, but "icon of geekdom"... that sounds like either misplaced affection or overzealous fanboism to me.

    Since then it has been Carley'ed and generally fucked over in many ways.

    Again... since when? "Carley'ed". What's that mean? Carley's gone last I checked. HP's innovating, HP's selling products that work and that people and businesses want... "fucked up?" again you're overexagerating b/c you have some ridiculously romantic view of how things once were... and no idea of what is today.

    At one stage, HP was "the best". They made the best calculators, best test equipment, best everything they touched. Their slide probably started with getting into the commodity PC industry (PCs and printers).

    Really? TI seemed to have some kick-ass calculators... I don't know who hands out awards for "the best" calculators but I seem to remember TI was the standard for calculus+ classes at the University I attended. Best test equipment... maybe, but I thought HP was a computer company... so geeks are freaking out about test equipment. "Best everything they touched"... again with your hyperbole. You're exagerating... and I'm guessing it's because you don't know what you're talking about. "Commodity PCs and Printers"... HP invented the fucking laser jet printer. The laser jet, the desk jet... those fuckers sell like hotcakes. HP owns the market and they keep innovating. Waht are you smoking?

    I think this entire line of thinking is unsubstantiated... it's that sort of reality that exists in /. where super nerds imagine that truth and their idealistic fiction are the same thing. Reality says that HP is a good company that makes good products and that their are great competitors our there who also make good products and you get to choose. Stop idealizing periods that never actually existed, stop glorifying a past you didn't experience in its fullness... accept today and understand it... but don't delude yourself.
  • by sbryant ( 93075 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:57AM (#16079549)
    HP's innovating, HP's selling products that work and that people and businesses want...

    What on earth is it you think that HP is currently innovating?

    They don't do medical equipment anymore (that part now belongs to Philips). They don't do Test & Measurement or components either (see Agilent).

    HP used to make some extremely good printers, which were head-and-shoulders above others in the field (I'm talking about the LJ 4/5 era), but that's not true for their current printers. HP is certainly not the clear market leader it used to be. The technology they invented was excellent, and the printers today still benefit from that, but it seems to me that instead of real innovation now, they are more interested in finding ways of stopping people using ink from other manufacturers, so they can sell their own at horrendous prices. Why does HP's ink cost more than Dom Perignon champagne [bbc.co.uk]?

    The same goes for PA-RISC, which was a strong architecture at the time. I see no advantage to buying an Itanium system now though. I wouldn't say that HP were the best at everything, but they definately had a significant edge; they don't have that anymore.

    HP took the innovation out of the company and put it in their logo. I was there - I saw it with my own eyes. They don't do anywhere near as much innovation as they used to. It's a shame.

    Reality says that HP is a good company that makes good products

    You've missed what it is that is upsetting people. They used to make most excellent products; now they're only good. That's a big step backwards.

    Back to the current story: anyone who worked at HP in the 80s and early 90s will know what an amazing corporate culture it had. This current scandal is yet another sign that HP has become the thing that Bill and Dave wanted to get away from. The old HP is dead, and what you see here is people in mourning.

    -- Steve

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM