back to article HP earnings fall 44% on Whitman's debut quarter

Meg Whitman’s earnings statement from the first quarter of 2012 doesn’t look good, as she tries to clean the Augean stable left by Léo Apotheker. In her first full quarter as CEO earnings for the company were down 44 per cent on the previous year, with the company getting hammered on revenues in the fast-growing Asia Pacific …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Board of Directors

    Or Bunch of Dodos..

    If I had HP stock, I'd sue the s;£¥ out of them.

    Dodos would have done a better job from the grave.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: Board of Directors

      Easy to say as an AC. I doubt even your level of financial genius would have been able to turn around that leviathan in a single quarter. Of course, that's why you're posting AC on the Internet instead of showing them how to do it IRL, right? Pfft.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        A Magic 8 Ball

        could have run HP better than the last crop of clowns.

        Fiorina, Apotheker, Whitman - they really do pick 'em.

        Who's next - Elop?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A Magic 8 Ball

          Who's next - ELIZA

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Board of Directors

        Read what I wrote. I said Board of Directors not Whitman. At least not on her own.

        And yes for a start I would not approve the random decision of hiving off the most significant business in the company without developing the new business.

        You can reorg the company for that. People I know in tech are wondering if they should HP stuff for this reason.

        Even Ballmer would not announce that MS are getting rid of Windows and Office. Or Dell selling off their PC business.

        Ambition must meet sensibility.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 06:41

          'Even Ballmer would not announce that MS are getting rid of Windows and Office. Or Dell selling off their PC business.'


          1. LOL123

            Re: @AC 06:41

            I will be among the unpopular who actually thinks what Elop did was reasonable.

            Nokia had nothing to show, and could not, with its pace of development, be able to sustain Meego development and an ecosystem for it. Between WP8 and Meego, WP has a better chance. It was, at the time, simply more mature. Even if they have the engineers, the sad fact is the company does not have the leadership and middle management acumen to half decently do SW on its own.

            It has no relevant track record of it. Let alone in a manner to deal with competitors like Google and Apple.

            The choice between WP and Android is one of ambition and thus the gamble - Nokia becoming a me too like Sony or something unique and different.

            Strategically this is more robust, especially with the cash from MS.

            Apple - iOS

            Motorola - Android

            Nokia - Windows Phone

            Rest - Leftovers of Android that Google desires to give out. Not an unreasonable existence, but not one of control either.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It's a bit disingenuous...

              ... to talk of Apple, Google and M$ on equal terms like that - especially without mentioning the unmarketed N9 which outsold the Lumia 3 to 1. Or Bada, which outsold M$ in general 2 to 1 before Samsung killed it.

              It's a bit like saying the next World Cup is really only between Brazil, Germany and San Marino.

  2. Sean Kennedy

    Having recently tried to purchase a server

    I have a unique perspective, I think. I recently tried to purchase a server. Their dl160g6. What a nightmare. 1 week after the supposed ship date ( overnighted of course ), I called to inquire where my server was. Oh, harddrive shortage. ETA in may sometime. No call, no email. Nothing. So, fine, whatelse have you got on hand? I'll take those. Great, they're in the warehouse, I'll get 4 in there and get the server out to you. Another week goes by, nothing. Called them back, oh, those drives are in stock! The server isn't expected to ship until the end of march though, and no one could tell me why.

    Finally, I told them to forget about the drives, just refund the cost and ship me the server. Oh, and could you send me some drive trays so I can get my own drives? Certainly! Couple days later I get the server, in pieces. No drive trays ( drives arrived same day ). The next week, the drive trays finally arrive...but they're the wrong ones.

    Ended up finishing the order from server suppliers, but if this is indicative of how the process is going to be going forward, I can completely understand why their server sales are slumping. Myself, I'm researching alternate server vendors because of this experience.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Augean Stables

    Are now clean.

    No horses in there either.

    JIT is fine if you can do it well. When servers are shipped from Singapore to Oz on demand, that is never going to work well. Some inventory is always useful to have around.

    Service + reliability > features

  4. Anonymous Coward

    A least they haven't yet resorted to fart art as marketing, unlike Dell:

    (warning contains real farts)

  5. KrisMac

    Being on of HP's clients in the AP region..

    ...I can tell you that their service is nothing short of shit!

    I have something in the order of AUD$250,000.oo worth of kit currently on back-order from pre-christmas and all I get from the vendor is a revised backorder ETA on a weekly basis to say how much later it is going to be - never why it is late in the first place.

    Unfortunately I am locked into a global contract negotiated by the super-brain drones at our corporate HQ, (in another part of the world where apparently black is white, night is day and HP's shit don't stink), so I can't just tell then to shove their orders and go elsewhere..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone still buys things from HP other than inkjet printers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They have good blades and infrastructure etc. Their blade management software etc. is way better than Dell's as well. I can only compare these two ...

      Just my 0.02c


      ps: We only buy kit on eBay, so I don't help HP's bottom line

  7. Shannon Jacobs

    An HP shareholder speaks:

    Just a minor shareholder, but still..

    In general, I think women are morally superior to men, and I think that much of that is just due to lower testosterone levels. I would prefer to see more merit-based pro-freedom competition and less chest-thumping aggressive ads. Therefore, on principle I would like to see more major companies run by women.

    Unfortunately, the rules of the game as encoded into American laws are otherwise. This is because those laws are written by the most cheaply bribed professional politicians owned by the LEAST ethical businessmen (and I have never heard of a woman among their greedy ranks). The laws basically require cancerous growth and any company that tries to avoid becoming more and more evil over time will be destroyed. I would go so far as to say that the current American laws implicitly require EVIL maximization even above the explicit profit maximization.

    However, in the specific case of Meg Whitman, I think she's a really bad businesswoman, and that this does not bode well for my shares of HP. Consider her recent MAJOR personal investment in trying to become governor of California. I think she was lucky once, and there's no evidence she will be lucky twice.

    As far as HP merchandise... My experience with their printers has been mixed. It's really annoying when 3/4-full ink cartridges die of apparent 'old age', but I'm willing to believe they are optimized for more typical users than me. Can't actually expect them to produce special cartridges just for 'people who print quite infrequently', even if that seems to be an increasing number of the customers these days. I actually used to sell their computers when I worked in a computer store, and again my experience was mixed.

    Perhaps the bottom line is that I can't recall ever owning an HP (or Compaq) computer, but I've had several of their printers over the years, and I might or might not buy another... I own shares in various companies.

    1. Mad Hacker

      Re: An HP shareholder speaks:

      I've switched to Brother printers and couldn't be happier. Try the MFC-9970CDW for an all in one color laser printer. Duplex scanning, printing, and copying. Only thing it didn't do that it should've was support AirPrint.

    2. Chris 213

      Re: An HP shareholder speaks:

      I believe this ( is the moral high ground that you speak of. Women are just as capable of being morally flawed as men without reguard to any hormone levels.

  8. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Down

    "In the first quarter, we delivered on our Q1 outlook and remained focused on the fundamentals to drive long-term sustainable returns," "We are taking the necessary steps to improve execution, increase effectiveness and capitalize on emerging opportunities to reassert HP's technology leadership."

    s/buzzwords// => ""

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My reaction precisely ...

      I was about to post something similar when I read that ... but you have done it so much better than I would have.

      I would give you a Siskel & Ebert if I could, but you will have to do with an Ebert.

  9. QrazyQat

    Rhetorical question I know but why do they keep picking from this tiny "talent" pool of washed up failures from other big companies? They'd be better off picking at random from a list of McDonald's night managers.

  10. Alain

    Cisco eating up their blade business, Itanic might become the fatal blow

    As a large HP customer, we've had less trouble having the right hardware delivered on time to us than some people here, but OTOH we mostly order very mainstream blade servers. What really makes me hate HP these days is their customer support whose quality is a shame for a so-called top-notch vendor for big corporate customers. It would hardly be appropriate for the average home user. The experience certainly is very similar whether you call them as Joe Inkjet Buyer or someone running a 24x7 data center with 100's of blade servers and several clusters of HP-UX boxes.

    Anyway, I think the future of their server business at least looks very grim: their line of blade servers that had matured to a good product with the C-class is now being seriously challenged by Cisco. IBM wasn't such a serious competitor based on 2nd hand experience I've had, but they certainly have to worry a lot about Cisco. They have pushed the integration much further than HP in terms of administration, monitoring, LAN and SAN connectivity. HP hasn't made much progress in this since the C-class were released.

    And then comes the Integrity... the IA64 blades really have a lot to offer for a cost-effective migration path from clusters of Superdomes, but they're clearly doomed, Intel made it clear that the days of the Itanic are counted. Even if HP provide a convincing port of ServiceGuard to Linux on x86, the migration of existing application will be such a pain that there will be few reasons left to stick to HP anyway.

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    3. Wunderbar1

      Re: Cisco eating up their blade business, Itanic might become the fatal blow

      I think IBM makes the best x86 servers. Fully redundant I/O, KVM, PS, back-plane. Definitely the best memory expansion tech. I have never used Cisco UCS, but I wouldn't want to be locked into Cisco networking forever in a world that is going to be much less Cisco centric. It is a ploy, IMO, to keep people paying 60% margins for switches when they could be paying 25%.

      Yes, IA64 is dead. Even if they come out with x86 BCS style servers in two years, the market, as with Itanium, will have already passed them. There is no porting path from HP-UX. It is a straight HP-UX Itanium to x86 - Linux migration.

      1. Alain


        I made it clear that what I wrote about IBM x86 blades was based on second-hand experience. Your mileage obviously varies. People I trust a lot told me that they had sour experience with large farms of IBM blades in 24x7 production, and that their KVMs were much less advanced than HP's ILO, making administration kind of a pain.

        Whatever. HP's C-class were/still are good stuff. They probably were bleeding edge when released but they haven't evolved much and they're being seriously challenged nowadays. Maybe this has do to with HP's R&D in a sorry state as mentioned by another poster.

        I saw presentations on Cisco blades that were really convincing. They've gone further especially in the virtualization of LAN MAC addresses and SAN WWN's, making the replacement of a failed blade a zero-configuration work business. Furthermore, regarding the "Cisco premium": as someone who's locked into using really poor and not so cheap Nortel network gear by silly corporate-level contracts, I wonder if the time we waste working around the huge deficiencies of their stuff wouldn't pay for the extra margings made by Cisco.

        1. Wunderbar1

          Re: @Wundebar1

          Agree, C-class is decent gear. IMO, if you want density, HP wins. If you want RAS, IBM wins. They are both coming out with new gear in the next couple of months whenever Intel gets Sandy Bridge on the market. I expect IBM and HP, if their R&D isn't too far gone, to come out with UCS style chassis with more flexibility at the hypervisor layer. IBM bought BNT specifically for BC interconnects and switching so they could build network into the chassis. HP has the networking gear and the server gear to do the same things. It will all be going in the VBlock direction. The nice part about IBM and HP vs. Cisco is that IBM and HP have the ability to build a VBlock entirely internally with their own storage, network, servers, and management software... vs. the VMware, BMC, EMC, Cisco partnership that is subject to cancellation whenever any of them get upset with something the others are doing.

          To some extent, I agree with you on the spending cash to buy stuff that works out of the gate instead of saving a dime on acquisition cost to spend a dollar (or pound) in integration costs. The beef I have is that, if that is what people want, why didn't they just stick with mainframe or Unix instead of going to x86 in the first place. The whole idea of x86 was flexibility and lower costs. It seems that the x86 vendors are slowly piecing, or partnering, their way back to something that looks like a mainframe. If that is the case, just buy a mainframe running Linux.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Reaping The Fruits Of

    ..Outsourcing. Certainly, no need for an own CPU, Intel can do better. No need for an operating system, surely Microsoft can do better. No need for a compiler development team, some random Indian engineers can surely do better. No need for an own PC manufacturing operation, surely foxconn can do better. No need for a test&measurement business, that will certainly distract from the great, high-margin computer business. Which no appears to be one of the lowest margin businesses at all.

    Yes, makes absolutely sense to me - if you want to close shop in a more or less orderly fashion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "test&measurement business"

      I'm not sure what choice they had in this matter when the Chinese pump out quite good test&measurement devices at rock-bottom prices.

      Even Fluke had to concede to the Chinese and now runs a strange operation where they have Chinese devices at very cheap prices - with labels stating "Not for sale outside of China" - and then practically identical devices at jacked up prices for other countries. You can also get pretty good Chinese-branded oscilloscopes these days, usually clones of clones.

      The same goes for Foxconn, HP can't setup their own PC manufacturing operation in China, the Chinese would never allow it - and where else in the world could they build cheap computers these days...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Probing Analyst: Don't think so

        Of course Chinese companies can build low-end stuff (which now includes 1GHz BW scopes), but in the high-end ADC sector (which is crucial for oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers), Agilent is still one of the leaders, together with Tektronix. Whenever you want to build advanced devices (which includes PC microprocessors and boards), you cannot go the Chinese route.

        HP/Agilent always had a lead in accuracy, resolution, frequency stability, jitter and other critical quality parameters. No way for the Chinese to easily copy that.

        Then they have much more than just scopes and spectrum analyzers - think chemical analysis, fiber optics, super-bright LEDs, semiconductor test, medical monitoring (now part of Philips), where HP was one of the industry leaders.

        It is probably true that HP/Agilent did have some issues in test&measurement which needed to be fixed in the early 2000s, but what Carly Fiorina did was cutting of the better part of HP's engineering capability, which certainly benefited the computer business. All the knowledge gained from the various high-end, high-speed, high-accuracy technologies (from scopes to PA-RISC CPUs) was highly beneficial to designing truely innovative products (as opposed to Carly's "invent" marketing antics). If they had a tough electrical problem with the latest PA-RISC CPU they would ask the T&M people for help. PA-RISC semiconductor process technology was used to build the core chips of the digital semiconductor testers.

        That were the days of HP greatness and they were something for the hardware world what now Google is the software world. But today - HP is merely a crumbling computer and software maker. But I guess that is the price of political correctness (lets give a woman a chance for being CEO, despite the number of women engineer-executives much smaller) and simply incompetence&ignorance.

        1. Gordon 14

          Re: @Probing Analyst: Don't think so

          The problem with appointing Fiorina wasn't that she was a woman, She was from the beancounting/marketing recruitment stream, and they should never get put in charge of anything. A woman engineer would have been fine but instead they chose someone from the B-Ark.

          Fiorina and Whitman are terrible choices to run companies in the same way that they're terrible choices to run States, or manage pissups in brewerys.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            @Gordon 14: The Problem With Fiorina

            ..was that she was hired under the PC correctness idea of "we have to give women and minorities a chance" and all the guilt feeling from that lefty ideology.

            And I stick to the argument that the number of women in engineering is much smaller and consequentially the talent pool is much smaller.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Probing Analyst: Don't think so

          Don't get me wrong I'm a big HP fan, proud owner of an HP48 and still have an HP-UX box. Think they simply took more than they could chew, after taking on the baggage from Compaq (which had swallowed Digital not that long before)

          I guess it sounded good at the time, but proved to be everything but.

          > Whenever you want to build advanced devices (which includes PC microprocessors and boards), you cannot go the Chinese route.

          Yet. Looking at how quickly the Chinese got into this I'll give companies such as Good Will Instruments (and clones) 2-3 years before they have this cornered.

          1Ghz BW scopes? Try 3Ghz..the GSP-830.

          > That were the days of HP greatness and they were something for the hardware world what now Google is the software world.

          Not sure if you're aware but Google is an advertising company, 96% of their revenue comes from selling advertising. Apart from a - mostly borrowed - mobile operating system they're not really a software company.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @Probing Analyst: T&M business figures

    According to wikipedia, Agilent alone are still 20000 people and then you would have to add up probably 5000 at Philips, Avago and so on. Agilent's revenue is at 4-5 billion/year and it may very soon be the major business of the ex-HP companies, if they continue this way.

  13. montyburns56

    No doubt the next story will be about the Board Of Directors awarding themselves millions of pounds in bonuses as a reward for not bankrupting the company.

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