HP CEO: Oracle Is Trying To "Distract" Us

leo apotheker HPNew HP CEO Leo Apotheker

Photo: HP

Hewlett Packard reported earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 31 a few minutes ago. The company reported earnings per share of $1.10, or $1.33 excluding after-tax costs related to restructuring and acquisitions. Revenue was $33.3 billion, up 8% from last year.Analysts were expecting non-GAAP EPS of $1.27 per share and revenue of $32.75 billion. Shares are up about 1% after hours.

HP’s storage business was the main growth driver, with 25% growth from last year to $5.3 billion. All of the company’s other businesses were up less than 10%, with the good old printing and imaging business showing 8% growth to $7 billion. The Personal Systems Group–mainly PCs–grew only 4% to $10.3 billion, services was about flat at $9.0 billion, and the software business was up 1% to $973 million.

On the earnings call, CEO Leo Apotheker said that competitors are trying to “distract” them–presumably referring to Oracle’s efforts to subpoena Apotheker in its trade secret suit against SAP. Apotheker replaced ousted CEO Mark Hurd earlier this month, and Hurd went to Oracle.

What about the company’s smartphone business? A questioner asked if HP was ready to make the big investment necessary to take on Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other strong competitors with Palm WebOS 2.0. Apotheker had no good answer, except to say that HP was both an enterprise and consumer company, and would use its enterprise strength to build its consumer business.

So what does that mean? Will HP be using its enterprise sales force to push WebOS devices? Or taking the revenue from its enterprise businesses to acquire companies that could shore up Palm’s consumer story? It’s going to be a very tough fight no matter which strategy they pursue.

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