There will be business school case studies written about the different ways that HP has paid its recent CEOs (and plenty more on why it has had so many, but that’s a different story.)

It seems finally to have got the formula right. With Meg Whitman’ s pay deal, HP’s board has taken a stand against the general meritless escalation in CEO pay in America – and not just because of the $1 a year base salary it will give her. Read more

Eighteen months after landing like a bombshell on the desk of HP’s then-CEO, the letter alleging sexual harassment against Mark Hurd has finally seen the light of day. But, for HP’s long-suffering shareholders, this will do little to answer what remains the most important question: Was the company’s board right to force out its highly-regarded CEO? Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Patricia Dunn, a former board chairman of Hewlett-Packard, has died at age 58 after a long battle with cancer, The Wall Street Journal reports. During her time on the board, the company was embroiled in controversy after it emerged that it had hired private investigators to identify the source of board-level leaks to the media. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

China has overtaken the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market by volume in the third quarter, Reuters reports. According to research company Strategy Analytics, smartphone shipments grew 58% to reach 23.9m units in China during the quarter, while US shipments fell 7% from the second quarter to reach 23.3m devices. Read more

Hewlett-Packard is getting more stingy with its CEO pay and benefits, according to a regulatory filing made late on Thursday. Given what it has just cost the company for 11 months’ service from Léo Apotheker  – up to $33m, by our calculations – this should come as some relief for its long-suffering shareholders. Read more

Hewlett-Packard’s executive suite looks like it’s in line for another upheaval: as the FT’s Joseph Menn reports, the company is considering showing CEO Léo Apotheker the door after less than a year.

But with all the comings and goings at the top, the company’s boardroom might be a better place to look to if the cycle of dysfunction is to end. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Cut-price TouchPads – which were scrapped by Hewlett Packard last week as part of its decision to axe its webOS devices – are top of  Amazon’s electronics sales list, according to Engadget. The 16GB and 32GB models have taken the two spots, beating the Kindle and the iPod touch. There are also reports that UK customers will soon be able to get the TouchPad at knockdown prices – with rumours that the tablet will available for £89  and £115 for the 16GB and 32GB versions. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Groupon competitor LivingSocial is considering a $1bn initial public offering, according to PaidContent. The IPO could value the social shopping site, which expects to generate $1bn in revenue this year, at $10bn-$15bn.

Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive officer Leo Apotheker has said the computer manufacturer is in talks to license its WebOS mobile software, says Bloomberg.  WebOS would give hardware makers a choice beyond Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows software as they seek to challenge Apple’s hold over the smartphone and tablet markets. Read more

In the latest salvo in a continuing battle between former allies, Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday filed suit against Oracle over the latter’s announced refusal in March to keep making new versions of its database software for HP servers based on the Itanium chip. But it is hard to know whether the case has much hope. Read more

Hewlett-Packard moved up its quarterly earnings release to before the US markets open Tuesday, two trading sessions earlier than planned, after a memo from its chief executive warned of tough conditions. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Hewlett-Packard is planning to build a cloud-based media locker, and racing to beat Apple and Google in launching the feature, according to Electronista. The service, which is set to be featured on its TouchPad tablet, will offer an online music syncing option as well H-P’s Movie Store product.

 Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • LivingSocial, the daily coupon website and rival to Groupon, is in talks with investors to raise around $500m to help fuel its expansion, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move comes just three months after it raised $175m from Amazon.com.

 Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Spotify, the European music streaming service is ‘a few weeks away’ from inking a deal for US rights to songs from Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, people familiar with the talks have told Reuters. However, Spotify could end up launching without Warner Music Group, the number three music label group, says one person close to the talks.

 Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Apple is lowering its minimum spend from advertisers on its iAds advertising platform from $1m to $500,000, says AllThingsDigital. The move, which follows the first run of iAd campaigns, is designed to appeal to smaller-scale advertisers who originally couldn’t afford the platform.

 Read more

After the mess of Mark Hurd’s departure, it’s good to see that Hewlett-Packard’s board has learnt a few lessons.

Leo Apotheker’s employment contract, on file today with the SEC, reveals that the new CEO has no guaranteed contract term. Instead, he is employed “at will”, which effectively makes it easier for the company to dispense with his services any time it likes.

Perhaps even more important is HP’s stipulation of the circumstances in which it can sack Mr Apotheker “for cause” – another glaring omission from the Hurd contract, and an issue over which HP has been heavily criticisedRead more

HP may have topped Dell in the bidding war for 3Par, but today’s Lex note argues, “HP may trump its rival– but to do so it has put a valuation on 3Par that is, frankly, bonkers.”

Lex writes, “Trouble is, 3Par has not made an operating profit in five years. Fixed assets at the end of last year were worth just $58m. On sales of $235m in the year to March 2011, analysts expect 3Par to generate $21m of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. HP intends to pay almost 80 times those profits.” Read more

From John Gapper’s Business Blog

As the ousting of Mark Hurd as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard starts to fade from the headlines, one aspect of it lingers in my mind – the Google search. Read more

Given the questions that have arisen over the extent of his ethical lapses – and the fact that he was cleared of the most most serious claim against him, involving sexual harassment – it’s not surprising that Mark Hurd’s supporters are starting to come forward.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison just unburdened himself of a typically outspoken reaction in an email to The New York Times. It includes this zinger: Read more

The FT’s Lex column writes that while Hewlett Packard’s acquisition of Palm may make a degree of financial sense for both companies, the challenge will be to meaningfully integrate Palm without alienating existing partners.

HP is a long-term partner of Microsoft, and is soon to release the first real competitor to the iPad: a touchscreen slate running Windows 7. In promoting Palm, the two companies will have conflicting priorities for the development and marketing of some new products, while playing nice on the full scale PC side.

 Read more

A year ago, Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee was talking up the potential for Palm’s latest gadgets to put the iPhone in the shade – and getting into hot water with the SEC in the process (which led to this self-parodying video).

So Wednesday’s hurried sale of Palm to HP marks an ignominious retreat – even if Elevation Partners, McNamee’s buy-out firm, at least managed to protect its downside.

All-in, Elevation put $460m into Palm between 2007 and 2009 in what amounted to a big bet that it could corner a piece of the new smartphone market before slow-moving giants like Microsoft and Nokia (not to mention HP) finally got their act together. Read more