HP Earnings: Forget PCs, Focus on Servers, Software, Autonomy

Will HP Q3 2013 earnings meet expectations? Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) will offer answers on Aug. 21. Look beyond PCs for clues involving the company's server, cloud and Autonomy businesses.

The VAR Guy

August 19, 2013

3 Min Read
HP CEO Meg Whitman Can she deliver strong Q3 2013 earnings
HP CEO Meg Whitman: Can she deliver strong Q3 2013 earnings?

When Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) announces Q3 earnings on Wed., Aug. 21, investors may once again talk about the PC sales slump. But it’s far wiser to focus on HP’s server, software, cloud and Autonomy businesses — and alternative hardware offerings like HP Chromebook and Android tablet offerings. Can CEO Meg Whitman show signs of momentum in those areas? Hmmm…

First, let’s state the obvious: PC demand has been dismal for more than a year, and Windows 8’s uninspiring performance hasn’t helped matters. Dell has been cutting prices to take PC market share and Lenovo continues to show growing momentum with non-PC devices. 

So where does that leave HP in the PC market? Even if business is improving — which would be a small miracle — The VAR Guy doubts HP can pull off any big upside surprises with its PC revenues and profits.

So let’s shift instead to where HP channel partners should be focusing:

  • Has HP’s server business held up ok? That question is particularly important right now — considering rival IBM has furloughed some hardware employees and may still be looking to sell its x86 server business. Anecdotal evidence suggests cloud computing will continue to squeeze the server industry. How is HP coping? The VAR Guy wants answers.

  • How is HP Software performing — particularly the Autonomy business? Sure, HP’s Autonomy acquisition has suffered from its share of lumps — big ones at that. But Whitman has indicated during earlier earnings call that Autonomy is starting to stabilize. Can HP actually grow that eDiscovery, Big Data and informationb protection business? The VAR Guy wants answers.

  • How is HP Cloud performing — especially as HP OpenStack ramps up? HP hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the cloud market. But the company’s public cloud is trying to gain some traction vs. Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, Rackspace and others. In HP’s defense, traditional rivals like Dell have abandoned public cloud buildouts and IBM’ SmartCloud hasn’t been a world changer — though Big Blue did just acquire SoftLayer. It will be particularly interesting to see if HP’s OpenStack-based public cloud push is starting to gain traction.

  • What’s the deal with HP’s printer business? Among the big questions — does HP see a big opportunity in the 3-D printer market? Where are the big revenue opportunities going forward?

  • Going Google? How are alternative hardware devices like HP Chromebooks and HP Android tablets selling? What are the long-term expectations? And how is HP’s Google Apps for Small Business push coming along?

Bottom line: Whitman has spent the last four earnings calls or so talking about HP’s five year turnaround plan. It’s time for the plan to show some signs of progress — even if the overall PC market is still limping along. 

Update, Aug. 21, 2013, 4:57 p.m. ET: Here are HP’s official Q3 2013 earnings.

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