HP kills TouchPad and looks to ditch PSG unit
In an evening of high drama in the tech industry, HP has thrown its newly-launched TouchPad tablet out of the window, killed off its other webOS devices, revealed plans to spin off its PC business and announced it is to acquire British infrastructure software outfit Autonomy for $42.11 (£25.50) a share or $10.2bn.
HP stopped short of completely squandering its $1.2bn 2010 acquisition of Palm by discontinuing the webOS platform altogether, saying in a rushed statement that it would "continue to explore options to optimise the value of webOS".
The future of the PSG business was also thrown into doubt tonight as the vendor said it was exploring strategic options for the unit.
"HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction," the firm said.
The $41bn unit has a "strong operating track record and industry-leading profitability", according to HP.
"We believe exploring alternatives for PSG could enhance its performance, allow it to more effectively compete and provide greater value for HP shareholders," said CEO Leo Apotheker.
"PSG is a world-class scale business with a leading market share position and a highly effective supply chain and broad reach and go-to-market capabilities. We believe there are alternatives that could afford PSG more autonomy and flexibility to make strategic investment decisions to better position the business for its customers, partners and employees," he added.
The news came as HP unveiled preliminary third quarter results showing meagre growth of 1.6% in sales to $31.2bn (£18.9bn). GAAP net income rose 9% year-on-year to $1.9bn.
The firm also forecast it would miss its financial targets in Q4, partly as a result of the massive charges that will be involved in shutting down webOS.