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HP Situation Looks Ugly

Analysts thought it would at least do $30.1 billion; revenues came in below estimates at $29.7 billion, down 5% year-over-year

The whisper numbers were worse but reality is bad enough.

HP managed to squeeze out that buck-a-share it said it would when it warned about that horrendous $8 billion EDS non-cash write-off a couple of weeks ago. Coupled with weak PC results it lost $8.9 billion, or $4.49 a share, while revenues came in below estimates at $29.7 billion, down 5% year-over-year.

Analysts thought it would at least do $30.1 billion.

HP forecast full-year earnings of $4.05 to $4.07 a share, the low-end of its previous outlook. That’s non-GAAP. In reality it will lose $2.23-$2.25.

It said all of the factors that tripped it up in the July quarter would hound its steps this quarter. Its short list includes the macro economy, especially Western Europe, the US and China, industry trends and its own execution, causing results below seasonality.

Still CEO Meg Whitman claimed to be “making decent progress despite the headwinds,” repeatedly invoking her mantra of being in the “early stages of a multi-year turnaround.”

She said “During the quarter we took important steps to focus on strategic priorities, manage costs, drive needed organizational change, and improve the balance sheet. We continue to deliver on what we say we will do.”

That said revenues were down across-the-board. HP sold 12% fewer notebooks to consumers; 9% fewer to business. Printer revenue fell 2.7% to $6.02 billion because it sold – steady now – 23% fewer units to the public.

Dell’s earnings were down 18% and revenue down 8% mostly because of flabby PC demand.

HP’s primacy in PC sales is under pressure from Lenovo, which means to unseat it, but Whitman swore HP would defend its turf and innovate.

HP’s enterprise business was off 4% to $5.1 billion. That includes a 16% drop in business-critical server revenues, a factor of its feud with Oracle, and industry standard servers came up 3% short. Blessedly, networking sales were up 6% but storage was off 5%.

The only HP servers that are moving are its hyperscale models; it’s still working on their pricing.

It claims 750 unique customers for the cloud.

After closing down 3.66% ahead of its earnings call Wednesday, HP’s stock dropped another 4.8% after-hours to $18.25.

It probably didn’t help that Whitman said HP’s giant $10 billion-and-counting Autonomy acquisition needs a lot of attention to succeed or that it still has a lot of work to do in Enterprise Services, its other pricy acquisition.

The software unit, where Autonomy lives, reported revenues, up 18% to $973 million – a combination of 2% license growth, 16% support growth, and 65% growth in services.

The EDS unit was down 3% to $8.8 billion.

Like former HP CEO Mark Hurd, famous for cutting staff, Whitman is expecting the restructuring to polish its bottom line. Small efforts will probably be shut down in the name of focus.

The company has $9.9 billion in the bank.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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