The question of whether to hive off loss making or diversionary businesses from within the HP family is really one about maximising share holder value whilst presenting the consumer with choice and high value.
Compaq accomplished those key goals admirably without discounting and gimmicks. Likewise HP printing was able to dominate their chosen field with equal success and continue to do so.
However, under the merged entity of the two companies HP appears to have been far less successful, especially with the former, increased shareholder value.
It is time for HP to go back to basics. That may be fragmeting the company, but in my view resurrecting the Compaq brand and allowing the focus on handheld and mobile computing to return to what it was under Compaq, high quality, high value products with associated price tags.
Simultaneously, HP's core competencies of enabling users to record and immortalise thoughts and ideas (via printers) should, once again, become its guiding principle.
C Fiorino had a vision that made HP a conglomerate of many facets if the knowledge management business, but to over simplify what printing and computing is all about and assume one business can compete effectively in all areas is dangerous and, back to my earlier point, in this case, reckless use of investors' money.