HP reports weak Q2 earnings as PC market dwindles

Everyone knows by now that tablets are killing the PC market, but nothing illustrates the situation better than a company like HP reporting a drop in second-quarter fiscal revenue and earnings. 

HP published its financial results on Wednesday and said it earned 87 cents per share on revenue of $27.6 billion, but that's a noticeable dip when compared to its profit of 98 cents on revenue of $30.7 billion from the same quarter last year.

Despite the negative guesswork of analysts, HP's shares have soared in the past six months, such as the 12 per cent spike in after-hours trading today to $23.62, but the price is still quite low. The company's stock plummeted to a 10-year low in November 2012.

Shortly before HP's stock tanked last autumn, CEO Meg Whitman outlined a five-year plan that promised growth by 2015. Whitman took over in September 2011 amid a dramatically changing PC landscape, where the world's largest PC company found itself experiencing a number of leadership and business setbacks that included abandoning mobile devices like the TouchPad after just two months on the market.

PC shipments for HP fell 24 per cent during the first quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC (graph below), while PC sales in general dipped 14 per cent. 

Weakened demand for PCs has undoubtedly affected HP's revenue, but it is not the only company suffering. Dell announced a $24.4 billion deal in February to take itself private; the bold move was a final attempt for the company to remake itself in a world where tablets have stolen the spotlight from PCs. 

HP has dealt with other negative trends, too. The company failed in recent years with a few pricey acquisitions, such as device maker Palm, which didn't pan out well, and it's also experiencing a downward spiral in printing, as the Cloud and other internet options have improved accessibility and thus lessened the need for paper.

HP reported $15.3 billion in losses over two quarters just last year. Despite these mediocre figures, HP is allegedly now developing Android-powered mobile devices, but Whitman has said a new smartphone would not launch until 2014.

A webcast of HP's Q2 FY13 earnings conference call is available on the HP Investor Relations page.