The company turned in 16% revenue growth and a 38% EPS gain over the year-ago period, driven by -- well, everything. HP is executing very well across all geographies and all its business segments, led by notebook computers and the BRIC bloc of international markets.
It's not so much that American sales were slow -- sales growth is accelerating even here, and the positive effects of a flagging dollar can't explain away the excellent overseas results, either. CEO Mark Hurd has been running the show for over two years now, and the benefits of his traditional clean-sweep reorganization when first taking this throne are behind us. Simply put, HP is just executing brilliantly.
That's bad news for archrival Dell
You see, HP is more than just household computers and printers. The company is also a heavyweight in the data center with a Unix flavor of its own and big-iron machinery to match -- including networked storage solutions to rival Network Appliance
And here's the good part. Remember how IBM spent $14.5 billion on share buybacks last quarter? It was a vote of confidence in IBM's own business, a tacit sign that management could think of no better place to invest that fat stack of mostly-borrowed cash than in its own stock. Hewlett-Packard is doing the same thing.
No, it isn't buying IBM stock, you silly goose. It's spending heaps of money on itself, to the tune of $2.5 billion in the last quarter and $10 billion over the past 12 months. So you gotta ask yourself this: If these guys can't think of anything better to do with that much money, how brilliant must their future look from the inside?
So HP strikes a blow for the enterprise computing industry as a whole, when taken together with Sun's radiant report and IBM's true-blue optimism. If their bets hold up, this sector should flourish for a long time, which brings a cascade of economic benefits to all the businesses in IBM and HP's halos -- or shadows. Furthermore, it's a bullish vote for the economy, because all this expected growth can't happen if the customers can't invest in their computing infrastructures.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but this article was composed on an HP laptop. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always worth the money -- it's hard to beat free.