For many companies, fiscal quarters sail by, and before you know it, the next earnings release is upon us. That's not the case with Hewlett-Packard
The plot thickens
First, we had ex-CEO Leo Apotheker last quarter outlining his ambitious vision for the HP of the future, which included shedding the company's biggest revenue source and shuttering a struggling mobile operating system that was clinging onto life -- all while making a pricey acquisition in the name of new beginnings.
Then we had rumor after rumor of what would become of webOS amid escalating criticism that would lead to a high-profile ouster (complete with a golden parachute), board ridicule, poison pills, and, ultimately, a new leader.
As HP's new leader, eBay
How'd we do?
Let's see how Whitman's first half-quarter went. Non-GAAP revenue for the fourth quarter checked in at $32.3 billion, which gave way to $1.17 in earnings per share by the time it reached the bottom line. Revenue scarcely beat the market's expectations of $32.1 billion in sales and matched its call of $1.17 earnings per share, and forward-looking guidance left a lot to be desired.
First-quarter 2012 non-GAAP earnings per share are pegged in the ballpark of $0.83 to $0.86, and the company sees full-year profit of "at least" $4 per share. Both figures fall far short of the consensus estimates of $1.11 and $4.84, respectively.
HP took roughly $2.1 billion, or $1.05 per share, in after-tax costs during the quarter associated with killing off the webOS device business. This hit resulted in GAAP earnings per share of just $0.12, representing an 89% plunge.
For the full year, total revenue was $127.4 billion, and earnings per share came in at $4.88.
Will the real HP of the future please stand up?
As much as Dell
Services generated $1.2 billion in operating income, continuing to boast a higher operating margin of nearly 13%, compared with the $578 million operating income from the PSG, or just under 6%. The next biggest operating segment in terms of revenue was HP's Imaging and Printing Group, bringing in $6.3 billion in revenue and $808 million in operating income.
Even as webOS awaits its destiny with bated breath, the fire-sale $99 price tag really got those TouchPads moving in a way that big-box retailer Best Buy
Some new reports now say that part of HP's decision on what will become of webOS depends on its ability to license it back for use in its printers, in an ambivalent move.
Can we get a mulligan?
Whitman has her work cut out for her. Over the past several weeks, HP has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, which is a good thing considering the types of headlines the company garnered at the height of the drama. She will need to help the company regain its footing and show that the board isn't made up of a bunch of incompetent infighters.
She also has to convince investors that under her watch, HP will have a strategic direction -- something I hear is pretty important in the business world -- and that her leadership will be a fresh starting point for the 72-year-old icon she's heading up.
Good luck, Meg. You're going to need it.
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