Hewlett Packard released its fourth quarter results yesterday, announcing a 91-percent drop in earnings as the embattled computer giant fights the blows dealt by its failed attempts to enter the tablet market and the ousting of its former CEO, Leo Apotheker in September.
Meg Whitman, who took the hot seat from the fired CEO in September, took the opportunity to convince investors they must lower their expectations. "We need to get back to the business fundamentals in fiscal 2012, including making prudent investments in the business and driving more consistent execution," she said. There will be no big purchases in 2012, although they may consider purchases up to $500 million to compliment their current business portfolio.
"We just need to get our heads down and get out of the news cycle and cut down on the drama," Whitman said. "We need to run this as one HP, so we can bring the full portfolio to bear to solve customer problems." She further commented that the company plans to begin investing more in R&D, as well as encouraging innovation from within its existing brands.
In its fourth quarter the company made just $239 million, a dismal figure when compared with last year's fourth quarter earnings of $2.5 billion. Although much of the blame can be aimed at the $2.1 billion it cost to restructure its WebOS business for tablets and smartphones, the outrageously high ~$10 billion purchase of Autonomy certainly did not help matters either.
Amazingly, despite the horrendous earnings announcement HP still beat Wall Street forecasts. The company's services division grew 1.7-percent, but suffered a four-percent decline in its enterprise servers, storage and networking market. Sales were also down in its core PC business, with a recorded decline of 1.6-percent, notebook revenues reduced by 4.1-percent as well as the firm's printer division suffering a 10-percent drop. Its desktop revenue increased by half a percent, though.
All told, it gives a clear indication that HP's unsettled year has had massive impacts on consumer confidence in the company. The on-off sale of its personal PC business, the failure of WebOS, the response to the purchase price of Autonomy along with the firing of its previous CEO have all taken its toll on its once solid image.
HP recently announced plans to refresh its Slate 500 tablet, offering better perfromance, longer battery life and a reduced price.
The HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse features traditional left and right mouse click buttons, as well as a clickable scroll wheel that tilts left and right. The center of the scroll wheel is translucent and glows white under certain circumstances. The wheel is a bit unique in that there are no "notches" felt when scrolling. The top deck is plastic with a glossy metallic blue and grey paint scheme. Grey accents encompass the mouse while the bottom half is wrapped with a grippy black rubber material.
The HP TouchPad features a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel, IPS display front and center, it has good color reproduction and viewing angles. It has a thick, nondescript bezel that surrounds the screen, within which is a home button and an embedded 1.3-megapixel camera. The home key is eerily reminiscent of the iPad's home button, though it is oblong in shape and has a glowing notification light built into it. Along the edge of the tablet are a power/sleep/unlock key, a volume rocker, a microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB charging/syncing port, and stereo "Beats" speakers.
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