The finest putdowns are usually the simplest. To wit, check out IBM's Chief Executive Trashtalker, Samuel Palmisano, whose elegant use of the past tense relegates HP's current status to that of a mere has-been innovator. Now, says Sam, HP is forced to acquire new companies just to keep up, thanks in part to Mark Hurd's slashing of investment in research and development. Speaking of Hurd, Palmisano also thinks HP failed its investors by handing him a fat severance package as he promptly jumped ship to Larry Ellison's Oracle loveboat. Another reason why Palmisano isn't worried about HP is that he sees the PC era as already over, describing IBM's sale of its PC business to Lenovo as an act of foresight, and adding that he "couldn't give it away today." Clearly they don't mince their words over at International Business Machines.