HP offers weak outlook, will cut 25 per cent of PC models

HP said it will focus on better design to help turn around its business

Hewlett-Packard has outlined a turnaround plan that includes slashing the number of PC models it sells by 25 percent over the next two years.

At its financial analyst day in San Francisco, HP also painted a weak financial outlook for the next fiscal year, saying it expects earnings per share of $US3.40 to $US3.60. That's well below the analyst estimate of $US4.18.

HP's stock price took a hit after the announcement. It was down around 11 per cent in mid-afternoon trading.

HP has been working to turn itself around after a series of missteps that included developing and then scrapping a line of smartphones and tablets, and declaring it might sell its PC business and then changing its mind.

New CEO Meg Whitman announced a money-saving plan in May that involves cutting 27,000 jobs. On Wednesday, executives outlined further plans for each product group.

The company will simplify its PC and printer businesses by cutting a quarter of the PC platforms it sells by the end of 2014, as well as 30 percent of its printer models, or SKUs, in the same time frame, executives said.

Taking a leaf out of Apple's playbook, HP also said it will also emphasize better design. "We don't want to do ugly," said Stacy Wolf, HP's vice president of industrial design.

He showed HP's Spectre One all-in-one PC and XT ultrabook as examples of where HP's PC designs are heading.

HP also hopes to turn itself around with tablet sales to the enterprise. "We expect this category to grow at three times the rate of the consumer tablet market," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group.

HP's analyst meeting was set to continue with a presentation about its server, network and storage business.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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