The battle between Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and HP heir Walter Hewlett over the company’s merger with Compaq was a very costly business. Between them, the two adversaries spent around $100 per shareholder in a bid to win their support. Now HP is indulging in a less expensive, but no more democratic, form of lobbying with its own employees.
Hoping it can win a coveted award in a PC Magazine reader survey, one HP executive has sent a memo to all US employees urging them to participate. Employees have been asked to give their “honest opinions” on HP products. “The fact of the matter is that our products have been getting better marks for customer satisfaction than are indicated by the PC Magazine surveys,” said the memo. The HP executive insists that this is not a case of sour grapes, but is merely intended to ensure that HP employees’ voice is included.
HP rival Dell sees it differently. “That kind of blatant ballot-box stuffing is kind of pathetic. We let our customers speak about the popularity of Dell’s products and services,” it said.