Sales of HP notebooks and servers are UP! And that's all the good news

Guess the bad news

HP kicked off its fiscal 2015 with a disappointing first quarter, reporting revenue and earnings both down for the three months ending on January 31, as compared to the year-ago period.

Total revenues for the quarter were $26.84bn, a 4.7 per cent year-on-year decline that underperformed analysts' estimates.

The firm's net earnings of $0.92 per diluted share beat Wall Street's estimates by a penny, but its total earnings of $1.37bn were likewise down 4.1 per cent from the year-ago quarter.

In a conference call with financial analysts on Tuesday, CEO Meg Whitman tried to pin much of the blame for HP's sagging numbers on the US dollar's strength in the currency markets, but there was no mistaking that the tech giant's revenues were down across nearly every segment of its business.

Notebooks and servers were the two bright spots in HP's portfolio. The company's consumer laptop division saw its revenues grow by 9 per cent, year-on-year, while its industry standard server business was up 7 per cent.

Other than that, storage revenues were flat and everything else was down, across the board.

Revenues for the Personal Systems division were flat at $8.54bn, but it was only the growth in notebooks that kept them there. Sales of desktop PCs were down 10 per cent from last year's quarter and down 7.4 per cent sequentially. Workstation sales were down 1.3 per cent from a year ago and everything else in the division was down 11 per cent.

The Printing unit's revenues were down 4.7 per cent annually to $5.54bn, with supplies down 5.1 per cent, commercial hardware down 2.3 per cent, and consumer hardware down 7 per cent.

The Enterprise group's sales were flat at $7bn, but again, that's only because they were propped up by increased sales of commodity servers. Sales of HP's business critical systems were down 8.8 per cent from the year-ago period and down 12.6 per cent sequentially. Technology services revenues were down 5.4 per cent from last year's quarter. And sales of networking equipment were particularly hard-hit, down 10.8 per cent from the previous year and down 16 per cent from the previous sequential quarter.

HP's Software group similarly saw its revenues decrease 4.9 per cent from the year-ago period, to $871m. And even the HP Financial Services unit underperformed its year-ago target by 7.7 per cent, bringing in revenues of $803m.

It wasn't pretty, and Whitman's assurances that HP is well on track to separate into two Fortune 50 companies did little to assuage investors. The company's share price tumbled in after-hours trading, falling nearly 7 per cent on the news. ®

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