Pull up! Pull up! Pull up! Ding ... HP ends eleven-quarter sales nosedive

Take that parachute off, Meg. You won't be needing that, eh?

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Think of HP, and what comes to mind? Business critical systems? Printers? Software? Lord no – it's laptops and bog-standard servers ruling the company's roost right now.

The tech titan reported on Wednesday [PDF] that in the three months to July 31, it booked $27.6bn in net revenue, an increase of one per cent, year on year. Net earnings from the period totaled $985m, down 29 per cent from the year-ago quarter's $1.39bn.

Still, the firm's earnings-per-share of 89 cents met or beat most analysts' expectations, which perhaps says more about Wall Street's prognosis for Hewlett-Packard than anything else.

"HP is in a stronger position than it has been in some time," CEO Meg Whitman claimed in conference call announcing the results for HP's third quarter of fiscal 2014.

That may be hard to swallow given the net earnings plunge, but bear in mind this past Q3 just ended HP's 11-quarter run of net revenue decline.

"We have reignited innovation at HP," she added.

Let's see where that innovation lies because – and forgive us here at The Reg – the situation's looking a tad familiar.

Among the best returns for the company was in the personal systems PC business. The firm reported that revenue from the unit was up 12 per cent year on year to $8.65bn, largely driven by a 14 per cent growth in commercial systems sales and 18 per cent increase in notebook shipments: the notebooks raked in $4.36bn in revenue, up 17 per cent year on year.

Desktop and workstations sales were each up eight per cent, to $3.4bn and $579m respectively.

Other areas of the biz, however, continue to lag. The company reported that Printing group revenue fell four per cent to $5.6bn; Enterprise Services sales were down six per cent to $5.6bn; Enterprise group nudged up two per cent to $6.89bn; and the Software division's revenue was down five per cent to $959m.

Within the Enterprise group, business critical systems revenue fell 18 per cent to $233m; networking was up four per cent to $672m; and industry-standard servers up nine per cent to $3.1bn.

Whitman said her company hopes to strike in the server market to take advantage of customer nervousness over Lenovo's takeover of IBM's x86 server business.

Meanwhile, HP is among the procession of manufacturers seeking to ride a reinvigorated PC market to boost its bottom line. Whitman noted that while the phase-out of Windows XP has contributed to sales of new machines to run later versions of the Microsoft OS, she also believes a larger effort by enterprises to upgrade their PC hardware will benefit HP.

"Turnarounds are not linear and we have a lot of work ahead of us," Whitman repeated to analysts.

"This is a big ship to turn and we need to move faster." ®

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