HP leaving Kenya
HP Inc. is the company that manufactures computers and printers and uses the blue logo. [ Photo / WSJ ]

What’s in a name? That has been the question after reporting on the exit of Hewlett Packard from East Africa opened up the fuzzy relationships between companies that share the heritage of HP, the US tech giant that later morphed into two different companies.

Hewlett Packard East Africa placed announced it was quitting Kenya and the East African market. Most media houses reported and used HP – the company commonly known acronym – which turned out to be a totally different company.

HP Inc. was forced to clarify that there has been no change to the company’s presence in Kenya. Due to the confusion between HP and Helwett Packard, there was mixed-up reporting by certain publications about HP exiting the East Africa region and particularly Kenya.

In 2015, Hewlett Packard Company separated into two separate publicly traded companies – HP Inc. the company that manufactures computers and printers and uses the blue logo, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) an IT Solutions and Software company.

Hewlett Packard East Africa, which announced exiting Kenya, is associated with HPE, HP Inc. said in a statement, after general reporting on the exit portrayed a total HP exit.

Hewlett Packard has closed its East African operations in what it said is part of an “internal reorganization”. Turns out, the company was dormant and operated as a shell company for years.

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The closure was communicated in a notice published in local newspapers. According to the notice, the company held an Extraordinary General Meeting in early September 2020 at which the decision to exit the regional market was reached.

Meanwhile, HP Inc. said it “is committed and passionate about the African market. We have offices in South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia,” according to a statement sent by Yolanda Zondo from HP’s communications agency Edelman based in South Africa.

“We are dedicated to making a positive impact and helping our customers and partners in the African region use breakthrough solutions and technologies to help them reinvent their organisations.”

Hardware vs software

The statement added: “HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our product and service portfolio of personal systems, printers and 3D printing solutions, we engineer experiences that amaze.”

“We would like to apologise to all our stakeholders for the uncertainty and the inconvenience that this story may have caused,” HP said. “We have been in contact with the media houses who carried this story and asked them to retract and update their records accordingly.”

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