The outcry and public lashing over HP's stock and its tech choices has been scorching over the last three days. After the company yanked the futures out from under the TouchPad and WebOS (the former is dead, the latter is looking for somewhere to recoup HP's $1.2 billion Palm buyout), HP sold off its own tablet stock on the Web this weekend at $99 a TouchPad. Sold them quickly, too.
But just as quickly, the Hitler-Tech-Ranting meme made an entry into HP's modern history. A great foreign film which won an Oscar, Downfall, has been used as a satire seedbed for so many technical mistakes and missteps like the one HP's committed. The crisis scene in the Berlin bunker, late in the movie, is swiped by tech world commentators and hijacked with fresh subtitles.
HP has now gotten the same treatment as Apple (for its iPad naming, and the iPhone Antennagate), Google (for the demise of Buzz and Wave) and other high fliers. This latest version (unsanctioned by either the filmmakers, or HP) includes a reference to Stalin using an iPad, plus some ominous cheer at the end about how Hitler still believes HP still makes the best PCs. HP is looking at every option for the future of its PC business, including "the potential of a non-transaction," according to CEO Leo Apothker. It's a mystery how any tech leader can announce its PC business might be for sale, and then not sell it.
YouTube has been diligent about yanking these off the Web, in due time. The Downfall clip has been used for everything from burger chain kids getting fired, to Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson's breakup, to Michael Jackson's death. (Largely because of the great acting; check out the film to see a fabulous performance by Bruno Ganz.) See the TouchPad version while you can, unless you feel nothing about Hitler could be funny in the least. Nobody can be blamed for holding that belief -- or that HP's got little future selling anything other than enterprise computers and their software, HP services, and its printers. Gone are the days of HP flatscreen TVs.
Investors are returning to the stock this morning, which is almost up to $25 with more than 20 million shares traded during the first hour. 128 million shares traded on Friday.