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By looking to spin off its PC business, ditching its WebOS hardware and shifting its focus firmly away from consumers, HP's bold moves could have a major impact on a host of tech heavyweights.
HP's PC buddies such as Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and Intel (INTC) and rivals like Dell (DELL - Get Report), IBM (IBM - Get Report), Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) and Research In Motion (RIMM) will all be watching the company's shape-shift with great interest. For most, this could spell new revenue opportunities.Microsoft The bit of good for the Windows purveyor: The decision to ditch WebOS hardware removes a pile of non-Microsoft software-running consumer devices from the market. The bad: HP's spinoff plans reflect a stagnating PC market, which has always been key to rolling out yet another successful Windows OS refresh cycle. A bad scenario for Microsoft would be if HP's PC unit gets picked up a company that would shift its focus away from Windows. HP, after all, is the largest PC player in the world. Any number of companies could potentially grab HP's PC operation. Asian giants Acer, Toshiba, Samsung and Lenovo, which bought IBM's computer business in 2005, could be acquirers. Then there's Google -- what if Google decided that it wanted to further stake its claim in the gadget market? Far-fetched though it may be, a Google deal would pose a big challenge to Microsoft. The weakening PC market also ups the pressure on Microsoft's yet-to-be-launched Windows 8, the mobile device platform that faces two heavily-entrenched market leaders: Apple's iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android. "