HP starts 2012 with a sinking quarter
3000 support demands spare inventory

Alternative Takes on HP Q1: Hope's on Tap

Whitman-2012Yes, HP has reported Q1 results with sales down and profits eroded. It's true, the CEO has said the company has a long way to go to fix what's broken in the business. And oh yeah, the stock market stripped off about 5-10 percent of the HPQ share price after Meg Whitman spoke up.

But not all of that is spooking everybody about HP's futures for the next several years. It seems that the next few years will cover the period when migrations wind down, although I'm always surprised when a large corporation shows up on the homesteader roster. (Pfizer has been the latest homesteader, at least through 2010.)

Over in Good Morning Silicon Valley (siliconvalley.com), a Q1 reaction story notes that some analysts think HP's got a comeback saga that's being overlooked. If nothing else, Whitman said yesterday that she'll be at HP long enough to see that comeback through. If the board doesn't tire of her, we suppose. The GSVM story on the stock and comeback says

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, in a note to clients Thursday morning, said that the key element in HP's earnings report was the victory in EPS, "showing the company is making progress. The company is an underappreciated turnaround story (which could improve) as investors get more comfortable with the company's improved focus and execution."

There's no ignoring the numbers that show Itanium BCS sales are tanking (watch out, Unix migrators). But the HP overall forecast may be a five-year renovation, one that finds enough cost savings to stock up the R&D armory once more. R&D used to be one of HP's most potent weapons. And since the company wants to build a hardened Linux for HP-UX migrators, better R&D spending can only help provide that future.