Carol Rules!

Carol Loomis belongs on everybody's short list of best business writers; her work at Fortune is peerless. And her knife is sharp. To say that she beats the hell out of Carly & HP this week is gross understatement. Ms Loomis' analytics and depth are mind-boggling. The bottom line: "This was a big bet that didn't pay off. ... At bottom, they made a huge error in asserting that the merger of two losing computer operations, HP's and Compaq's, would produce a financially fit computer business."

HP is flummoxed by Dell on the low end, IBM on the high end—and, as Loomis says, there ain't no easy way out.

(HP walks away from PricewaterhouseCoopers; IBM buys them. HP buys Compaq; IBM sells its PC group to the Chinese. Hmmmm.)

(While HP execs are hardly going to agree with Loomis, their level of Denial was pretty breathtaking.)

(Note: I question 9 of 10 big mergers. Have for 20 years. I supported the HP merger. I should have stuck to First Principles.)