HP has denied putting pressure on CNET to tone down a remark about co-founder Dave Packard by CEO Carly Fiorina which has caused offence to HP veterans and former employees.
In an interview on Monday, Carly related how Dave Packard had been known as "The Evil One".
A less Satanic description was offered in later versions of the story.
A spokesperson for HP says that the remarks were made at the end of the interview after the tape had run out. "They fixed it," she said.
Register readers say they cannot recall Dave Packard being described as either Evil or Mean, nor was it characteristic of the man.
"In 25 years of following HP, I have never before heard such denigration," wrote one reader.
A spokesperson for HP said that Fiorina could corroborate the claim. "Absolutely - that's what many people told her."
"There are many myths about the HP Way, such as there were no layoffs," spokesperson Rebecca Robboy told us. "The point she was trying to make is that after Bill and Dave left the culture was internally focused and self-satisfied. She is trying to revive their restless drive for excellence."
A director at The Packard Foundation declined to comment on the episode, but says the Foundation wishes the current HP well.
"I don't know if this is a misquote, a journalistic integrity vs corporate pressure tussle, or a quick peek behind the mask. Nonetheless it is interesting and raises some questions in my mind about the principles," wrote one reader.
"He was certainly a hard-nosed businessman, and never shirked from a hard decision or cutting off a program, project or product that should have been cut off," says Alan Falk, who spent 24 years at HP. "But, wow... I never ever heard of him refered to as that!"
"I got a personal letter a few years ago from Dave Packard, before he died," wrote another reader. "Really nice guy from everything I know - he even sent me a new Test and Measurement book." ®