I interviewed for a job at HP once about 20 years ago. Back then at least, they had a lot of divisions that were more or less silo-ed, trying to be profit centers on their own. If that's still what they do, then it would be a pretty good situation for doing spin-offs and that sort of thing.

Eastman Kodak. By chance, I was thinking about EK day or two ago and about how easy it is to be wrong. In 1997 I was visiting China. I looked around and tried to think about how the emergence of China and how it might play out in investment themes. My best idea, I thought, was that as Chinese consumers moved up in the world, one of the first things they would want would be film to take pictures of their children. So I thought that already beaten down EK might be a good investment. The WSJ reported the other day that EK's bonds are falling away to zero now. It's believed that they could default in as soon as a year or two.

On the same page in the WSJ there was an article about IBM's booming earnings, three-something billion in the most recent quarter. Yet another "insight" I had long ago was that IBM could never make much money after the mainframe business died. When that was happening, the stock was way, way down, and Gerstner took over, and I'm pretty sure it's been a good-to-great investment ever since. Even now, I don't really understand what they "do", and how they make $3 billion a quarter doing it. I read that they make a lot on consulting, but anybody can do consulting, and it sounds tough to even gross $3 billion on that, let alone net.


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