Whitman calls for calm as HP posts $9bn Q3 loss

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Computer giant Hewlett Packard has attributed much of the $8.9 billion loss (5.6 billion) it posted in its latest set of financial results to the write down of its Enterprise Services division, EDS, which it acquired in 2008.

HP also made separate restructuring charges, which further dented the company's bottom line. The loss is the biggest HP has recorded in its 73-year history.

HP's Enterprise Services division has caused problems for the computer giant since its acquisition, with numerous redundancies and management changes.

HP chief executive, Meg Whitman, said the company is "taking aggressive steps to right the ship."

This is a multi-year turnaround and progress will not be linear.

Earlier this month, the vendor said it would restructure the division's leadership and take a cut of $8 billion as "goodwill".

"Enterprise Services is in a multi-year turnaround and progress will not be linear," Whitman told analysts on a conference call. "We will turn Enterprise Services around, but it will take some time."

Stuttering PC, server and storage hardware sales have also affected the company.

The firm's third quarter results only just met Wall Street projections.

Stripping away the EDS write down, HP's profits were just $2 billion (1.2 billion), which is down nine per cent on last year. Revenue also decreased five per cent from a year ago to stand at $29.7 billion (18.7 billion).

The Personal Systems Group made $8.6 billion (5.4bn) but was down $972 million (611m) on last year.

Its Image and Printing Group saw a three per cent drop in revenue to $6 billion.

Services were down just three per cent, which means this division now accounts for the biggest slice of HP's revenues.

One bright spot for HP is software, which achieved a revenue rise of 18 per cent to $973 million, which includes results from last year's Autonomy acquisition. Software-related support revenue was up 16 per cent and software services rose 65 per cent.

"HP is still in the early stages of a multi-year turnaround, and we're making decent progress despite the headwinds," said Whitman in a statement.

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

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.