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HP reports flat third quarter revenue as PC and printer sales continue to drop

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HP has posted flat revenue for its third quarter, showing continued declines in PCs and printers.

HP logo stock
HP logo stock

HP has just reported its third quarter earnings with a total revenue of $29.7 billion, down 5 percent from last year and about a billion less than last quarter. Its earnings were roughly in line with the flat numbers of previous quarters, but a change in valuation and restructuring costs mean the company is officially posting an $8.8 billion loss, something it announced it would be doing in early August. Beyond that, earnings per share met the numbers it announced shortly beforehand, exceeding previous expectations by a little. CEO Meg Whitman said these numbers reflected "the early stages of a multi-year turnaround," and the outlook for the full year is on the low end of earlier estimates.

Although HP has said it will be releasing at least one Windows 8 tablet later this year, it's still heavily invested in traditional computers, which have been losing steam. This quarter, total desktop units declined 6 percent compared to last year, and notebook units dropped 12 percent. Both consumer and business revenue dropped by about 10 percent, though the consumer branch was hit slightly harder. HP's previously profitable printer business has also continued to decline, albeit less than usual. For the past several months, the Imaging and Printing Group has declined between 7 and 10 percent compared to last year; now, it dropped by a mere 3 percent. Software like data processing tool Autonomy was a rare bright spot, with revenue increasing 18 percent.

Along with Dell, HP is one of the biggest names in traditional computing, but both companies have been struggling to compete with Apple in sales as notebooks give way to tablets, and business is suffering by any measure. Dell saw its consumer revenue drop by 22 percent this quarter, with weak hardware demand overall. Dell has previously said it's "no longer a PC company" and is focusing on enterprise services, but the transition doesn't seem to be complete yet: its overall revenue dropped 8 percent as well. Neither company has captured the success of Lenovo, which continues to do well selling its core products.

Update: The original post incorrectly referred to sales rather than units for the decline of laptops and desktop computers.