Tag: HP

HP does well this quarter

The maker of expensive printer ink HP appears to have turned a corner.

It reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, largely helped by a stabilizing PC market. Revenue rose to $12.68 billion from $12.25 billion.

However, the company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $611 million in the first quarter ended 31 January from $650 million a year earlier. This indicates that HP is not out of the woods yet.

The results were better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted most expected $11.85 billion in revenue.

HP’s results included personal systems (what HP calls PCs) revenue of $8.25 billion, a 10 percent gain from a year ago. Total PC units sold rose eight percent, with notebook shipments rising 12 percent. Desktop PC sales stayed flat with the year-ago period.

HP’s largest source of profit is the ink and toner business which has been hit by competitors selling less-expensive ink cartridges and a general decline in printing of documents, especially by younger people.

Sales in that segment fell three percent in the latest quarter, improving from a 16 per cent drop in full fiscal year 2016.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak said the results were clear proof point that we’re on the march to stabilise supplies, revenue and constant currency by the end of this year.

HP to slash 3,000 to 4,000 more jobs

Samurai_Warrior_ASC_2799The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, said that it will cut another 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years.

The outfit said in February it would accelerate its restructuring program and slash around 3,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2016 and these new cuts are on top of the old ones. In fact HP has not said where the axe will fall.

HP Chief Executive Dion Weisler said the market continued to be volatile, facing pressures and uncertainties because of a bad case of “challenged core markets” and “fluxing macro-economic conditions”.  We had a bad case of fluxing macros earlier in the year and could not get off the bog, HP has our sympathy.

HP is raising its quarterly dividend by seven percent, HP also said it would increase its share buyback program by $3 billion.

The company expects restructuring and other charges of $350 million to $500 million and the move is expected to generate gross annual run rate savings of $200 million to $300 million beginning in fiscal 2020, HP said.

According to research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments in Q3 fell by 5.7 percent, the eighth consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline. Gartner also said that this is the longest duration of decline in the history of the PC industry.

 

HP backtracks on third party Ink

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP has backtracked on a rather nasty plan which meant that users could not buy third party ink cartridges.

HP hit the headlines when it issued an update for its printers that made it impossible to place third party cartridges in its machines.  The move was made suddenly so that buyers who had been using such cartridges for a year or more would have to buy the expensive HP ink.

The move angered consumer rights groups and it looked like HP would be facing a rather expensive court case.

Now HP said it will restore the ability of certain OfficeJet printers to use third-party ink cartridges, after being criticized for issuing a firmware update that rejects non-HP ink.

But HP is still defending its practice of preventing the use of non-HP ink and is making no promises about refraining from future software updates that force customers to use only official ink cartridges.

Writing in its bog, HP said:

“We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP,” the company said.

The recent firmware update for HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro, and OfficeJet Pro X printers “included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned,” HP said.

For customers who don’t wish to be protected from the ability to buy less expensive ink cartridges, HP said it “will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks and will provide details here.”

HP said it will continue to use security features that “protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working.”

Our guess is that the new policy will come in with new machines so that customers know that they have to buy the official cartridges.

HP did apologize for its poor communication about the firmware update and promised to be more “transparent” in the future. But that alone won’t satisfy the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called on HP for a public commitment to never again use its software update process “to distribute anti-features that work against [HP] customers’ interests.”

HP programmed its cartridges to fail

myce-hp-error-message-670x447The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, appears to have programmed all its printers to reject other people’s electronic cartridges  on 13 September.

Thousands of HP printers around the world started to show error messages on the same day, saying that non-HP cartridges were damaged. It called on customers to Remove them and replace them with new cartridges.

On HP’s support forums numerous complaints were posted and Dutch online retailer 123inkt also received a large amount of complaints on that day and decided to investigate the matter.

Looking under the bonnet of their test printers they found a large scale problem with their private label brand cartridges with several HP printers. When they emailed their customers asking them if they wanted to check if their printer also had problems, they received replies from more than 1,000 customers confirming it.

The problem existed in the printer’s firmware although HP claimed it was unaware of the fact. People who complained to HP were told the error was caused by using non-HP cartridges. A day later HP withdrew that statement and explained the problems were a side effect of an firmware update.

But HP didn’t release a firmware update at any date near the 13 September – in fact the last time the printers with problems received a firmware update was March. The firmware has been hanging around since 2015. Also printers with firmware released before March 2016 suffered from the problem and printers without any internet access started to reject non-HP cartridges.

In other words, the problem was not caused by a firmware update and HP programmed a date in its firmware on which non-HP cartridges would no longer be accepted.

On its website 123inkt said: “This problem is not unique. Printer manufacturers regularly release firmware updates which are said to enhance the printer’s performance or address security issues. The (un) intended result, however, is that the use of cheaper private label cartridges is made difficult and / or that error messages are caused. This time the problem was not the result of an update to improve the operation of the printer, but HP apparently programmed a date in its firmware on which the issues should start, the 13 September, 2016.”

HP hit with age discrimination suit

oldguyAn age discrimination suit is claiming that HP’s restructuring is being used to purge the organisation of old people.

Four former employees of Silicon Valley tech icon Hewlett-Packard have filed an age discrimination lawsuit alleging they were ousted amid a purge of older workers.

Hewlett-Packard began layoffs in 2012, before the company broke into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise last year, and have escalated the layoffs since, eventually hitting tens of thousands of workers.

However the complaint claims the goal of the changes was more to make the company younger.

“In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination … and then systematically replacing them with younger employees. HP has hired a disproportionately large number of new employees under the age of 40 to replace employees aged 40 and older who were terminated,” the complaint said.

Arun Vatturi, 52, Sidney Staton, 54, have joined in the lawsuit with a former employee from Washington, 62, and from Texas, 63. The group is seeking class-action status for the court action and claims HP broke state and federal laws against age discrimination.

HP in 2012 announced it would cut 27,000 jobs. The company continued to announce layoffs, which to date total more than 80,000.

HP said: “Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a long-standing commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and age inclusion is no exception. The decision to implement a workforce reduction is always difficult, but we are confident that our decisions were based on legitimate factors unrelated to age.”

The lawsuit alleges that HP’s human resources department in 2013 issued written guidelines mandating that 75 percent of all external hires should be fresh from school or “early career” applicants.

Central to the lawsuit’s claims are statements attributed to Meg Whitman, who is now HP chairwoman and HP Enterprise CEO. She told a company meeting:

“We need to return to a labour pyramid … where you have a lot of early career people who bring a lot of knowledge who you’re training to move up through your organization, and then people fall out either from a performance perspective or whatever. And we put in place an informal rule to some extent which is, ‘Listen, when you are replacing someone, really think about the new style of IT skills.”

Whitman comes out for Clinton

Meg WhitmanThe woman who sliced and diced the maker of expensive printer ink HP into much smaller companies has dubbed Donald Trump an authority figure and backed Hillary Clinton.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman has been a supporter of the GOP and ran as the GOP gubernatorial candidate in California before being defeated by Jerry Brown in 2010. She is also a big GOP fundraiser so her defection will be felt.

She dubbed Donald Trump an “authoritarian character” and a threat to democracy.

“To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character,” Whitman posted on Facebook about the Republican nominee.

Whitman said it was time “to put country first before party” and that she would give a “substantial” contribution to Clinton’s campaign.

Whitman said that Trump was a “dishonest demagogue” and said that those who look at other failed democracies and believe “it can’t happen here” are mistaken.

“Trump’s unsteady hand would endanger our prosperity and national security. His authoritarian character could threaten much more,” Whitman wrote on Facebook.

Whitman’s endorsement is the latest from a string of business leaders who have moved to back Clinton in recent days, including other high-profile Republicans.

Clinton’s campaign released a list in June with business leaders from whom they had secured support. Among them were several high-profile Republicans, including Dan Akerson, a former chairman and chief executive at General Motors.

Buyout firms swarm around HPE

Piranha-3dBuyout firms are swarming around HPE like pirhana as the outfit considers  divesting assets worth between $6 billion and $8 billion, rather than the entire company.

Named in the swarm are KKR & Co LP, Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group who have been sniffing around HPE’s rear entrances waiting to pounce the moment some asset breaks from the school. This is instead of a buyout worth more than $40 billion, although that might still happen.

HPE declined to comment, while KKR, Apollo and Carlyle are not saying anything so this is all a rumour.  But if HPE guts itself and its other half is killed off by the downturn in PC sales, it could be that the once proud maker of printer ink is heading for the knacker’s yard after a slow death of 17 years.  That is, if you consider the reign of the winsome Carly Fiorina, the beginning of the end.

 

Apple’s PC business bites the fruit of doom

poison-appleThe fruity cargo cult Apple has managed to ward off the downturn in the PC market for a while now – thanks mostly to its fanboys refusing to buy anything without an Apple logo.  However, all that has suddenly changed.

Apple shipped eight percent fewer Mac computers during the second quarter of 2016, compared with a year earlier, according to new estimates from two research firms.

What should be worrying Jobs’ Mob is that some of its bigger rivals managed to find growth in the PC business. So the concept that Apple will always have a market for its products is proving groundless.

Analysts estimate Apple shipped 4.4 million to 4.6 million Macs in the quarter ending June 30. True, they had a higher margin than other PCs in the market, but if a couple of fanboys refuse to buy a Mac then the figures take a bigger kicking.

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best, saying that that the whole of the PC market is suffering and it was wonderful that Apple saw off the inevitable for so long. However.

But HP, Dell and ASUS all increased their shipments during the last quarter, and benefited from a healthy US market. This is a bit weird given that is the same market which Apple is supposed to be doing well in.

Some of the problem is that Apple has basically ignored the Mac and not bothered to upgrade its MacBook Pro. Instead the company has been promoting its Surface Book clone so that it probably only has itself to blame.

 

Oracle welcomes HPE by suing it

Consulting-the-Oracle-JWW-1884You know your new company has finally arrived when you get your first law suit from Oracle and it seems that despite being officially only a few months old, HPE has made it.

In the old days when HP just made expensive printer ink, Oracle used to sue it regularly.  The bad blood started when Oracle bought Sun Microsystems to become a direct competitor to HP in the hardware business.

Then Oracle hired HP’s former CEO Mark Hurd after Hurd left HP amidst a scandal involving dodgy expenses and a soft-porn startlet.

This new lawsuit is not particularly exciting. Oracle claims that HP “partnered” with a third-party software support called TERiX Computer Company to offer enterprises support for Oracle’s Solaris operating system.  Since Oracle makes most of its money selling such support for its various software and has sued other third-party providers that try to do this kind of support for a cheaper price than Oracle.

Oracle has sued TERiX and in June a judge ordered TERiX to pay $57.7 million in damages.

Oracle says it was it uncovered this alleged relationship between HP and TERiX during that previous TERix lawsuit and now it wants to make HPE pay.

A spokesOracle said: “Oracle obtained a judgment against Terix, and will continue to pursue companies like HP that misappropriate our software for their own financial gain.”

 

HP Inc speeds up job cuts

HP logoThe maker of expensive printer ink HP Inc can’t get enough of job cuts, even though dividing the company into two was supposed to sort it out.

The outfit said it was accelerating its restructuring program and now expects about 3,000 people will exit by the end of fiscal 2016 instead of over three years as it announced in September.

HP had said it expected to cut about 33,300 jobs over three years, of which up to 3,300 were to be cut in what would become  HP inc. It said then that 1,200 people would leave the company by the end of 2016.

The restructuring will result in charges and associated cash payments of about $300 million in the current year, the company said.

HP Inc is the bit of HP that got the legacy hardware business, reported a near 12 percent drop in quarterly revenue, as it struggles with weak demand for PCs and printers.

Revenue in the company’s personal systems business fell 13 percent in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, while it declined 17 percent in its printing division from a year earlier.

PC sales have been falling sharply worldwide, and the launch of Windows 10 has so far failed to rekindle demand.

Printer demand has been hurt as corporate customers cut printing costs and consumers shift to mobile devices.

The company, which is reporting results independently for the first time since being spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co, forecast adjusted profit of 35-40 cents per share for its second quarter ending April 30. HP Inc maintained its 2016 adjusted profit forecast at $1.59-$1.69 per share.

The company’s earnings from continuing operations fell to $650 million in the first quarter from $770 million, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $12.25 billion from $13.86 billion.

All this was in line with analysts expectations.