Despite dark clouds of corporate trouble ahead, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) keeps on navigating to great results. The boardroom spying scandal already led to the loss of two board members -- one of them chairperson Patricia Dunn -- a formal SEC investigation, and a fistful of shareholder lawsuits. But while the legal team is busy fending off these challenges and the board is rebuilt -- Wachovia (NYSE:WB) CEO Ken Thompson just joined the roster -- the engineers and salespeople are simply generating profits by the bucketload.

With a sales report of $91.7 billion for fiscal year 2005, HP just passed IBM (NYSE:IBM) in the unofficial race for biggest-revenue technology company in the world. IBM's latest trailing-12-month tally stopped at $89.6 billion, and other than Far East powerhouses Samsung and Hitachi with rolling sales in the low-to-mid $80 billion range, nobody else comes close. World No. 5 Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) only has $57.4 billion to show, pending a delayed report for the latest quarter, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) don't even crack $50 billion.

Dell did have another race to lose, that of the global king in computer systems sold. And according to multiple market tracking services, HP just stole that pennant, too, mostly thanks to a strong quarter in notebook sales. Now, personal computers form the basis of an extremely competitive, cutthroat market, and analysts are rightfully impressed by the 4% operating margins HP pulled off in this quarter. But when you make up for those slim margins in massive volume, it's all good. While other system builders like Dell and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) bemoan consumers waiting for the release of Windows Vista before buying any new computers, HP landed 16% growth in unit volume year over year.

CEO Mark Hurd said that he was pleased with the quarter and year while still seeing plenty of room for improvement. Going forward, HP will strive to balance growth opportunities against bottom-line profitability by "leveraging our strengths in notebooks, in consumer, in the commercial and retail channels and in international markets." Sounds to me like the captain knows where to take this ocean liner, and judging by his boatmanship so far, I wouldn't mind coming along for the ride.

For further Foolishness:

Dell is both a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation, and Microsoft is another Inside Value selection. Try out either of these products -- or any of our other newsletter services -- free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but he did buy an HP notebook in the quarter just described. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always ahead of the pack.