FORTUNE—Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has plenty to be thankful for this holiday weekend. The company's fourth-quarter results, reported earlier this week, came in better than expected. HP's revenue for the quarter, $29.1 billion, beat Wall Street analysts' projections, as did earnings. As a result, shares of the company soared nearly 10% the day after CEO Meg Whitman's quarterly earnings call with investors.
But unfortunately for HP, the future may not be so bright once Thanksgiving passes. To put things in perspective, the company's revenue—while higher than expected—still dropped year-over-year. (For the third year in a row, I might add.) Nearly every one of its business units declined in this most recent quarter; HP's Enterprise Group was the one bright spot, up 2% from last year. The company has already shed 13,000 jobs in the last fiscal year, and will likely cut several thousand more in the coming months. CEO Whitman's plan to focus the company on long-term growth businesses like software and cloud services has yet to translate into significant improvements or growth. In other words, a slightly-stronger-than-expected fourth quarter in no way means that the company's turnaround strategy is working.
Of course, HP had no problem spinning its less-than-mediocre results into a positive.
"Through improved execution, strong cost management, and with the support of our customers and partners, HP ended fiscal 2013 on a high note," Whitman said in a release issued on Tuesday. "Our Q4 results demonstrate that HP's turnaround remains on track heading into fiscal 2014. While we still have much more work to do, our business units and their core assets are delivering on HP's strategy to help customers thrive by providing solutions for the New Style of IT."
To be fair, Whitman is only two years into her five-year plan. And yes, declines were smaller in this most recent quarter. But it's not yet clear how HP will bolster not only top-line growth but profits, in light of aggressive cost-cutting in its product lines and slumping sales of PCs and printers, still an important source of revenue for HP. Morale has no doubt improved since Whitman stabilized the company's corporate ranks, but hiring and retaining talent could still be an issue—luring engineers is harder than ever in Silicon Valley. So while Whitman can sit back and enjoy her turkey leftovers this weekend, come Monday the holiday—and fourth quarter—haze will likely wear off.
At Apple and HP, ad spending is flat as a percent of sales. The others are spending more.
FORTUNE -- Asymco's Horace Dediu on Monday used last week's release of Apple's (AAPL) fiscal 2013 advertising budget to update the fever chart at left and to add a new chart on the right, one that compares advertising expenses as percent of sales. He notes that although by that measure Coca Cola (KO) outspends MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 4, 2013 11:58 AM ET
Now that HP's going to be dropped from the Dow, it's time to reevaluate what to do with the aging tech giant.
FORTUNE -- What would you do if it fell to you to turn around Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)?
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The world's largest electronics manufacturer does have other clients.
FORTUNE -- If something sounded familiar about Lorraine Luk's headline in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal -- As Apple Feels Bite, Hon Hai Looks to Diversify -- it may be because we've heard that tune a lot lately.
Just in the past three weeks, journalists have attributed to Apple's (AAPL) loss of "steam" everything from Harvard's divestiture of a few hundred Apple shares to the structure of Sharp's survival plan. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 28, 2013 3:45 PM ET
In the last quarter of 2012, Apple had 5% of the global PC market and 45% of the profit.
FORTUNE -- Everybody who follows the computer industry knows that Apple's (AAPL) Mac trails far behind its Microsoft (MSFT) Windows-based competitors -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Lenovo and the like -- in terms of worldwide PC shipments.
But who knew what the market looked like in terms of economic value?
Leave it to Asymco MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 16, 2013 2:53 PM ET
The two leaders tower over Lenovo, HP and Sony, but stand in the shadow of "Others"
FORTUNE -- IDC has issued a Q4 report on shipments of what they call "smart connected devices," a category that includes desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Total shipments last quarter came to 367.7 million units, IDC estimates, with most of the growth in tablets (up 78.4% over 2011) and smartphones (up 46.1%), while desktop and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 22, 2013 11:06 AM ET
This assumes you believe that iPads and Kindle Fires are personal computers
FORTUNE -- Market researchers at Canalys made headlines Wednesday when they reported that Apple (AAPL) was the world's No. 1 personal computer manufacturer in Q4 2012 with shipments of 27 million PCs -- almost twice as many as No. 2 Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).
It was a finding that flew in the face of the "Apple is doomed" meme, and only makes sense if you MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 7, 2013 5:46 AM ET
Companies are likely to spend on tablets and cloud services—but at the expense of higher margin products.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- As companies around the globe put the final touches on their 2013 budget plans, they are applying a modesty that was rare during earlier decades of Silicon Valley growth. And while many forecasts are calling for stronger spending than we saw in 2012, that's mostly because 2012 was a MOREJan 15, 2013 11:16 AM ET
Eleven lowered their 12-mos. targets in December, yet few stocks have as far to go
FORTUNE -- Analysts tend to get nervous when a stock they follow drifts too far from their published price target, and few stocks are as widely followed or as far out of whack as Apple (AAPL).
Eleven analysts lowered their Apple targets in the final weeks of the company's first fiscal quarter of 2013, which ends Saturday. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 28, 2012 8:37 AM ET
Despite bedrock similarities, the two giants have very different philosophies.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- On the face of it, Hewlett-Packard and IBM have a lot in common. Both are storied brands with rich legacies that shaped high-tech. Both are working with companies large and small to help manage their technology. Both are angling for a piece of the markets -- like cloud computing and big data -- that promise years MOREKevin Kelleher - Sep 20, 2012 6:08 AM ET
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