HP to merge PC and printing divisions?

Reports claim vendor will go back down the route of single PC and printing business

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HP to merge PC and printing divisions? HP’s Mark Hurd is reported to be weighing up a plan that would involve the merger of the company’s PC and printing units. (Getty Images)
By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 30, 2009

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard is considering the possibility of merging its PC and printing divisions, according to reports in the US.

The plans, which are said to be awaiting approval from CEO Mark Hurd, would see the combined business managed by the current boss of HP's Personal Systems Group unit, Todd Bradley.

A report in the Wall Street Journal cited sources "familiar to the situation" and said the plans were motivated by stagnation in HP's printer business, the company's main profit generator.

If the speculation proves correct then it would represent a major about-turn by Hurd. HP's PC and printing operations were combined when he took over in 2005, but he split them up just five months into his tenure.

HP initially merged its PC and printing operations under the former leadership of Carly Fiorina. It said the move would "foster greater efficiency and help the company to bring products out more quickly."

At the time, the move was greeted with scepticism by analysts, who claimed it suggested the PC business was failing to achieve the kind of profits anticipated of it.

HP's systems and printing divisions have encountered difficult times this year. PSG revenues tumbled 18% to US$8.4 billion in the three months to the end of July, while IPG sales dropped 20% to US$5.7 billion. Operating profits from both divisions also fell against the previous year's figures.

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