HP committed to PC business despite 8% drop in sales

"We are better and stronger together," says CEO Meg Whitman as HP's Personal Systems group continues slide

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman has denied rumours that the company may spin off its PC business or divide the company in any way.

On a conference call with investment analysts, Whitman was asked whether she was "still committed to turning around HP while keeping the core divisions together".

"We have no plans to break up the company," she replied. "I feel quite strongly that we are better and stronger together.

"Over the last 10 years, I think [HP] has put together the most valuable franchise in IT," she said. "And when you think about our brand, our scale, our distribution, our go-to-market collaboration on R&D and supply chain, I think we've got a great set of assets, and importantly customers want this company to be together".

Whitman made the remarks as HP reported its latest set of financial figures.

For the three months ending 31 January, HP recorded sales of $28.4 billion, down 6% year-on-year. This figure beat analysts' expectations.

HP's sales fell across all of its operational units.

Revenues for HP's Personal Systems unit, which sells PCs, slipped 8% year-on-year to $8.2 billion, with commercial and consumer sales declining 4% and 13% respectively. Desktop shipments shrank 5% while notebooks dropped 10%.

"On the back of our strong execution in the Windows 8 roll-out, we once again, held our position as the world’s leading PC maker," Whitman told analysts on the conference call. "We have really ramped up our innovation in the personal systems space with a particular focus on the enterprise."

Whitman said the division will in future focus on mobile platform and alternative PC form factors. "We are going to compete on differentiation, whether that is form factors, increased focus on mobility, a multi-OS strategy, multi-chip strategy, frankly relevant to various industries," she said.

Sales at the Enterprise Group, which sells server, network and storage equipment, fell 4% to $6.9 billion, while the Enterprise Services division dropped 7% to $6.3 billion. The printer business shrank 5% to $6.2 billion.

"If I had to characterize it, I say the patient showed some improvement," Whitman said of the quarter. "There are a number of new programmes and disruptive innovations that should help us along."