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HP without PCs? Not so unthinkable

Hewlett-Packard is on the verge of spinning off its PC business, if reports out of Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal are accurate.

HP is slated to announce its earnings today after the markets close.

A spin off of the PC business has been rumored on and off for years as those products get more and more commoditized. The whole PC-and-laptop category is also under pressure from smaller, nimbler, more consumer-focused tablets gain favor.

 HP CEO Leo Apotheker has repeatedly noted that he wants to take the company deeper into enterprise software and services, where it lags IBM.

Bloomberg also reported that HP was nearing a deal to buy Autonomy, a UK-based search company for $10 billion. Think of the headline possibilities there: HP gains Autonomy, etc.

Former HP CEO Mark Hurd used to justify preserving the company’s margin-starved PC business because its purchasing power there gave it the best-possible pricing on the newest and best components. But many wonder whether margins are falling so fast to break-even that whatever efficiencies can be wrung out of the supply chain no longer matter.

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Finding the right abstractions is the big issue of course. It always is, and even Prof. Shenker explains how the OpenFlow/SDN crowd he's part of probably didn't understand the issues really well at first.

Anyone that hasn't watched his video should do so, it's linked in the article as 'argues'.