HP's Huge Changes: Tech Weekly Recap

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- HP ( HPQ) unveiled a major corporate and strategic overhaul on Thursday, ditching its WebOS devices and potentially spinning off its PC business.

The sheer scale of the changes took investors by surprise, although HP CEO Leo Apotheker, speaking during a conference call late on Thursday, defined the fire hose of announcements as setting the company up for the future.
HP turned on a fire hose of announcements this week.

"We are focusing on what needs to be fixed, what needs to be shut down, and what needs to be considered for separation," he said. "Equally, if not more importantly, we are focused on what value added IP needs to be added to HP."

HP also reported its third-quarter results on Wednesday, edging past analysts' estimates. With consumer spending weakening and a major overhaul of its business on the horizon, however, HP offered up tepid guidance.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

In addition to its new strategy and its latest results, HP announced its $11 billion acquisition of U.K. software maker Autonomy on Thursday, underscoring Apotheker's desire to bolster the company's software business. The former SAP ( SAP) chief has made no secret of his desire to push HP towards higher-margin business such as software and services, an approach that has proved successful for rival IBM ( IBM).

HP investors, however, balked at the company's latest plans, pushing the PC giant's stock down $5.91, or 20.03%, to close at $23.60 on Friday.

Google ( GOOG) kicked off the week with its biggest-ever acquisition, announcing a $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility ( MMI) on Monday. The purchase should give Google a big leg up in the booming smartphone market, where its Android operating system is locked in a fierce battle with Apple's ( AAPL) iOS.

As part of the deal Google not only gets its hands on a leading player in the smartphone industry, but a trove of 17,000 technology patents related mostly to the wireless industry.

Google chief Larry Page described the deal, which is expected to close in late 2011 or early 2012, as good for all Android players.

"Motorola Mobility's total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem," Page said in a press release Monday.

Amidst a broader selloff in tech stocks, Google shares closed down $13.96, or 2.77%, at $490.92 on Friday. Motorola Mobility's stock was up a penny, or 0.03%, at $37.86.

Dell ( DELL) was also busy this week, reporting its second-quarter results after market close on Tuesday.

The PC giant's revenue came in below analysts' estimate, although its earnings per share came in well above the consensus forecast.

Dell highlighted ongoing strength in its enterprise business as a key driver of its profit growth. The company's enterprise solutions and services revenue, for example, grew 4% year over year to $4.6 billion, while its server and networking sales climbed 9%.

The results nonetheless sent investors fleeing from Dell's shares. Analysts, however, said that the numbers should be viewed within the context of Dell's longer-term profit push.

Dell CEO Michael Dell made some headlines of his own later in the week when he poured scorn on rival HP's strategic changes.

"If HP spins off their PC business ... maybe they will call it Compaq?" crowed the Dell supremo, via Twitter, referring to HP's tough $25 billion merger with PC maker Compaq.

Dell shares ended the week up 24 cents, or 1.74%, at $14.

Renderings of Apple's new outlet in New York City's Grand Central Terminal emerged Wednesday.

Rumored to open in late November, the store will be located on the terminal's east balcony where Charlie Palmer's Metrazur restaurant previously stood. Apple's Grand Central location will be its fifth in New York City and potentially its largest in the world. Its landmark Fifth Avenue glass cube store, located about a mile from the terminal, is currently undergoing renovations.

The tech giant's shares fell 1.8% to $373.30 in premarket trading Thursday, following the departure of mobile ad exec Andy Miller. Miller, who joined the company through its acquisition of Quattro Wireless, will join venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners.

Apple shares closed down $10.02, or 2.74%, at $356.03 on Friday.

Shares of small-business software provider Intuit ( INTU) rose on Friday after the company projected strong earnings for the 2012 fiscal year during its fourth-quarter report Thursday afternoon. Intuit reported a loss of 19 cents a share on revenue of $593 million, beating EPS estimates by two cents. Analysts had expected sales of $583 million.

For the first time since 1998, Intuit posted an adjusted profit for the fourth quarter, with CFO Neil Williams citing a rise in conversion of customers from packaged software to that sold online. The company also announced its first cash dividend: 15 cents a share.

Intuit's stock ended the week up $3.35, or 8.31%, at $43.65.

With earnings season drawing to a close, the tech sector's attention will be focused on new products during the coming weeks. AT&T ( T), for example, will debut its USBConnect Momentum 4G and Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G on Monday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

More from Technology

Baidu Stock Plummets After COO Qi Lu Resignation

Baidu Stock Plummets After COO Qi Lu Resignation

Wondering What Blockchain Technology Really Is? This Expert Explains It All

Wondering What Blockchain Technology Really Is? This Expert Explains It All

The Dream Team? Netflix Teams Up With the Obamas

The Dream Team? Netflix Teams Up With the Obamas

Tesla's Model 3 Gets a Rough Report From Consumer Reports

Tesla's Model 3 Gets a Rough Report From Consumer Reports

Tesla's $78,000 Model 3 Is a Bargain. Here's Why

Tesla's $78,000 Model 3 Is a Bargain. Here's Why