Hewlett-Packard: the Flight of the Kittyhawk

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MKT 555
Professor Bao
11/3/2010
Case assignment 4: Hewlett-Packard: The Flight of the Kittyhawk.

Question 1: what caused the failure of HP’s Kittyhawk project?

Kittyhawk was the smallest hard disk drive in the world produced by Hewlett-Packard in the 1900s’. However, despite of the general manager’s (named Bruce Spenner) entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking, two years later, Kittyhawk sales failed. A few reasons caused the failure of HP’s Kittyhawk project. Firstly, in this market, it was not yet clear at this time that was the larger customers and as a result the list of Kittyhawk customers was very different from that the team had originally planned. Moreover, Kittyhawk had to face two technologies that were cost and power competitive. In addition to this first point, Kittyhawk lost its first potential customers; in fact, HP’s Corvallis Division decided to use Integral Peripherals’ 1.8-inch drive. Secondly, they did not expect at this time that the PDA market did not emerged. Indeed, PDA manufacturer found sales disappointing and most of them withdrew them from the market. Last but not least, the project parameters were very high and challenging. For instance, one of Spenner’s goals was to introduce the Kittyhwak in 12 months, from start to finish; however, normally, HP’s average cycle time for new disk-drive platform development was 18 months. Also, he wanted to achieve a $100 million revenue rate in two years after launch, which pushed the team to raise the price about $250.

Question 2: If you were the project manager, should you pull and plug and discontinue the project? What strategic option did the project team propose to revive the project? Please support you arguments with sound reasoning and evidence in the case.

First of all, if I were the project manager of this high-technology product, I should not have pulled and plugged and discontinued the project. However, White’s marketing team did not decide to recommend to his...
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