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Friday Blogosphere Watch: The Word on Hurd

One of the things I love about my beat is the relative rarity of personal scandals. I cringe whenever I see a politician's personal peccadillos paraded before the public, and I'd hate it if I ever had to lead the procession. But Silicon Valley is not without its dramas, and this week we had a whopper. I'm referring, of course, to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark V. Hurd's resignation.

In case you spent the last week coding in a cave, here's what happened: Hurd gave up the big chair after an internal investigation into a sexual harassment claim against him by a former contractor found that he had filed false expense reports. According to an HP press release, "The investigation determined there was no violation of HP’s sexual harassment policy, but did find violations of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct."

This is an important story, but I'm already feeling the need to wipe down my keyboard with about a dozen KeyKleens. Instead, I'll just let the blogosphere, which was throbbing with this story all week, do my dirty work.

Maybe start with CNet senior editor and blogger Sam Diaz's August 6 post, where Diaz lays out the market impact of the Hurd departure. He's one of the few who noted that Marc Adreessen (co-author of Mosaic, founder of Netscape and Loudcloud, and HP board member) would be "at the center of HP’s future" as a "key player in HP’s CEO search."

Venture Beat blogger Dean Takahashi, whom I normally think of as a gaming and gadget guy, gets into the background of Jodie Fisher, the marketing consultant who made the sexual harassment charge.

Industry analyst Rob Enderle poses the question, "Mark Hurd Falls; Could Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs Be Next?" The ever-insightful Enderle explores the similarity among these top execs, including their vulnerabilities.

Chuck House, who now runs Stanford University’s Industry Affiliate research program on media and technology, was an HP engineer for 29 years. He rips Hurd a new one in his August 10 post, "Holy Mackerel." House calls the departing exec "profane, a bully, autocratic, threatening, demeaning, vindictive and rude," among other things. Be sure to check out the comments from readers on this one.

Motley Fool blogger Rick Aristotle Munarriz not only has the coolest postmodern name ever, he's among the relative few to believe that Hurd's departure from HP won't be a career killer.

For a bit of historical context, check out this pre-any-idea-there'd-ever-be-an-ouster post (March 2010) on the OnStrategies Perspectives blog.

Finally, Lee Pender, executive editor of our sister pub, Redmond magazine, had me chuckling with his post, "A Modest Proposal: Hurd Is Out, Here's Why I Should Be HP's Next CEO." If I were on HP's board, he'd get my vote.

Posted by John K. Waters on August 13, 2010