HP PC boss desperate for spin-off -

The ousted SAPman Leo Apotheker didn't bother to let the PC division boss, Todd Bradley, know if he still had a job. Enter Republican Meg Whitman, who hasn't been much help to Bradley yet, either.

Bradley, 52, was a hotly tipped contender for the CEO position before HP decided the best way to annoy Oracle was to hire someone from SAP. Apotheker dusted off his greyest suit and took to the stage, mostly to reveal - after months of preening about the exciting future of webOS - that webOS was dead. Rumours circulated that hardware, too, was lined up for the gallows.

Bradley, though, has been travelling the world in a bid to convince employees and everyone else that HP will still sell computers. It just might not be under HP's banner. They might call it Compaq.

Bradley is the one to thank for ironing out understandable kinks among the channel partners and supply stream. Worried companies have been wondering if it's worth staying faithful to HP's particular tin boxes, or if it's time to switch to one of the many alternatives, who are keenly rubbing their palms above HP's death bed. In Europe, the competition is already snatching market share

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bradley rather fancies an HP spin-off. It would lay some worries to rest and allow him the kind of control he's been pining for, though just how it would appear in the public eye is murky. One of the WSJ's sources claimed Bradley heading a PC unit spin-off would be his "dream job" and that he has "wanted this forever".

It may go some way to explaining HP UK's PC group's bizarre statement, in light of Apotheker's gloomy soothsaying, that it's still totally committed to webOS. And that it's still the best shop in town for picking up a PC. 

Whitman is under pressure to make the situation clear, and quick. The company has faced accusations about whispers backstage saying one thing, while telling shareholders very much the opposite. Whitman says HP will continue to sell very expensive printers, servers and other high-end gear, but Bradley's role and the future of its PC business remains uncertain.