Lou: Hey, Abbott, there's sure been a lot of hullabaloo around HP's board of directors lately.
Bud: That's right, Costello. I've been reading all about it.
Lou: Ah, then maybe you can help sort it all out for me. Now, the person who used to be HP's chairman, what's her name?
Lou: What do you mean, done? You didn't tell me!
Bud: I just did. Dunn!
Lou: You just did it again!
Bud: Did what?
Lou: Not tell me her name before you finished!
Bud: Oh, sure I did. Stop being ridiculous.
Lou: You're not very nice to me, Abbott. Why can't I be heard?
Bud: Because he's the CEO.
Bud: Every word you said.
Lou: You mean to tell me the CEO is Hurd.
Lou: He's Hurd everywhere he goes.
Bud: Of course
Lou: He's Hurd every time, right?
Bud: Well, if he articulates clearly enough, I suppose.
Lou: What does THAT mean?
Bud: You asked me if the man can speak well.
Lou: I did no such thing! Anyway, this Hurd, he's a good CEO?
Bud: Oh, yes, very good.
Lou: The employees at HP? They respect him?
Bud: Very much so.
Lou: So the HP employees, they follow this Hurd?
Bud: Oh, they'd never do that!
Lou: What do you mean!?
Bud: C'mon, Costello. HP is a very innovative company, They take pride in not following any herd.
Lou: But you just said they respect him!
Bud: They do!
Lou: So they do what the CEO tells them to do?
Bud: Sure, after the CEO is done.
Lou: Dunn is the CEO?
Bud: No, that's the ex-chairman.
Lou: Who's the ex-chairman?
Lou: You did it to me again, Abbott!
Bud: Did what?
Lou: Ah, forget it! So, why is there so much controversy?
Bud: Well, the Board authorized a contractor that engaged in pretexting.
Lou: Pretexting? But I thought you said HP was innovative!
Bud: I did.
Lou: Their computers can handle music, animation and video, right?
Bud: They sure can.
Lou: So what's wrong with a little pretexting? I do that on my cell phone all the time before I send an SMS.
Bud: Costello, you don't get it. Contractors posed as employees so they could record what was overheard.
Lou: What could be over Hurd? He's the CEO!
Bud: Well, as a Board member, he wasn't over Dunn.
Lou: Why couldn't he be over Dunn?
Bud: Well, if he overdid things, he would be ineffective like Dunn was.
Lou: Why wasn't Dunn effective?
Bud: Because the contractors were off the mark.
Lou: I thought Mark is the CEO!
Bud: Of course he is.
Lou: All right, now I've got it! Hurd is the CEO and Dunn was the chairman.
Bud: That's right, Costello!
Lou: Wow, I've finally got it down pat.
Bud: I'm not Pat. She's the ex-chairman.
Lou: Pat is?
Bud: Of course.
Lou: Not Dunn?
Bud: Actually, I am done.
Lou: You're Dunn?
Bud: No, that's...
Bud and Lou: the ex-chairman!
Lou: Well, it's too bad about this Dunn person. Sounds like she'll need to be looking for jobs.
Bud: Actually, Jobs is... oh, never mind.
Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group and a contributing editor for LAPTOP. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. Feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.