by Bob London
April 21, Palo Alto, CA–Hewlett Packard, one of the world’s largest technology firms, has seen a notable drop in the cost-effectiveness of bribes to government officials, according to internal documents, leading the company to seek new business development strategies in its European and Asian markets. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that “German prosecutors are investigating whether H-P executives paid €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million ($46.9 million) Russian contract”–a return on bribe (ROB) of just 4X–well below the historical average of 10X.
“It is unconscionable that we have to pay €8 million in bribes to get a piddly €35 million contract, and worse, it certainly doesn’t scale,” said an HP executive in Germany who asked not to be named due to the ongoig investigation. “But we’ve seen this cycle before–bribes go up due to greed, poor economic conditions or whatever, and you have to decide when to change your business development strategy.”
According the source, other strategies under consideration at HP include developing more innovative pricing models, redirecting bribery budgets into product research and development, cold calling and hookers.
NOTE: This piece is meant to be satirical and is not based in fact.Bob London is president of London, Ink, a Washington-DC-based marketing and communications consulting firm and writes business-related humor on the side.