updated 05:55 pm EST, Wed February 17, 2010
HP also ahead of curve in Q4 2009
HP on Wednesday night reported results that held off rivals and put it ahead of the industry curve. The company's net income jumped 25 percent year-to-year in its latest quarter to top $2.3 billion and did so chiefly on the back on its home PC sales. Shipments of computers grew by 26 percent, most of which came from stronger notebook sales (up 26 percent in revenue) while desktops grew at a more modest amount (16 percent revenue).
The exact number of computers shipped wasn't given and can't be tied to recent estimates as HP uses an unconventional November to January quarter where most use September to December.
Its overall PC revenue was also notable for increasing the first time in more than a year, up 20 percent. The news was trumpeted by HP chief Mark Hurd as a sign of a recovering economy and of a strong lineup. Many computer builders, including HP, have previously blamed the economic crash of late 2008 for drops in profits and shipments as they either shipped significantly fewer PCs or were forced to turn to less profitable netbooks and other budget PCs to keep shipment numbers high.
Other areas of the company were more modest, with much smaller gains in HP's enterprise server and printing businesses as well as flat software and a drop in services.
HP didn't directly explain the boost to its PC shipments but was likely given a strong lift by the launch of Windows 7 in late October, giving HP a large boost through most of the three-month span. It also launched new systems at CES, many of which were available the same month.
The 26 percent gain in PC shipments, while difficult to measure against competitors, likely puts HP again significantly ahead of the industry average of about 15.2 percent as of the fall. Its growth isn't the fastest recorded among major computer vendors, however, as Apple in its fall 2009 quarter reported a 33 percent surge in Mac sales. Acer was previously estimated to have grown its PC shipments by 28 percent over the same October-to-December period as Apple.