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HP to exit PC business

Company announces shock decision to drop hardware group to focus on software and services; buys UK software firm Autonomy for $11.7bn

HP has announced plans to drop its hardware business
HP has announced plans to drop its hardware business

HP, the world's largest PC manufacturer, is to drop its hardware business, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones, in order to focus on software and services.

The company is also purchasing UK software company Autonomy for $11.7bn, as part of its new strategy.

The vendor confirmed that it is considering selling its personal systems group, which includes its PC manufacturing business. It also confirmed that it is to close its webOS business, despite paying $1.2bn to buy Palm just over one year ago.

HP only launched the Touchpad in July of this year. However, the device failed to gain traction amongst enterprises and consumers, and was met with mixed reviews by critics.

The move to focus on software and services had been on the cards ever since the company announced the hiring of former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker in September 2010. HP had previously quashed rumours that Apotheker had been planning to refocus the company away from its traditional hardware business, towards software and services.

The move is reminiscent of IBM's decision to leave the hardware business, albeit one that is far more rapid.

HP's shares responded negatively to the news falling 6% by the end of trading. They had shed a further 4% in after-hour trading.

More to follow...