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Hewlett-Packard: The Flight of the Kittyhawk

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About the document

Published date
documents in English
case study
10 pages
4 times
Validated by
  1. High potential of the DMD and the project
    1. Place of HP through DMD in the disk drive market
    2. An innovation: the Kittyhawk
    3. Flexibility of a start up and resources of a big structure
  2. The reasons for failure
    1. Sustaining versus disruptive innovation
    2. The target market
    3. The strategic objectives
  3. The Kittyhawk should have been considered as a disruptive technology
    1. Defining the disruptive product
    2. Which markets and which objectives?
    3. The implementation of the Kittyhawk project

The technology industry is a market of change, due to innovative breakthroughs. But for the firms in this sector, the challenge is to predict success. The disk drive industry provides some characteristics of how changes can cause certain types of firms to succeed or fail in choosing for instance a disruptive or a sustaining innovation.

HP was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. Their first product was an audio-oscillator, built in a Palo Alto garage. HP growth was driven by several innovations in high technology over so many decades. Today, HP is a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services, which is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to all. HP is still a company of inventors led by Carly Fiorina; Chairperson and CEO.

In 1992 Hewlett Packard had four major business organizations (Test and Measurement, Computer Systems, Measurement Systems and Computer Product). Among the different groups of the Computer Products organization, we could find the Mass Storage Product Group, which contained the Disk Memory Division (also called DMD), responsible for developing and launching disk drive models.

The Kittyhawk was a disk drive that HP designed to be the need of next-generation. In this study, we will try to answer the following question: how did an organization that appeared to do everything right eventually fail?

First, we will present the high-potential of the DMD and Kittyhawk project, through the disk-drive market, by characterizing the Kittyhawk innovation, and the HP way of management. Then, we will analyze the reasons for failure, defining sustaining and disruptive innovations and the market and strategic objectives that were taken. Finally, we will see how HP could have avoided this failure by suggesting some solutions.

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