Critics pile on HP as Moody's cuts rating

Hewlett-Packard faces a torrent of criticism after Moody's cuts its long-term credit rating to three levels above junk.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
2 min read

Moody's cut Hewlett-Packard's rating today, topping a day marked by a rash of critical articles about the Silicon Valley giant.

Moody's Investor Services cut HP's long-term credit rating to Baa1, three levels above junk, from A3, according to Bloomberg. The rating agency said that HP's "credit profile will remain weaker than previously expected over the intermediate term," among other reasons.

This comes in the wake of an $8.8 billion writedown related to alleged fraudulent accounting at Autonomy, the software company HP acquired last year.

And HP's core businesses aren't faring well either. In the age of the iPad, demand for PCs is weak, while its printing business is also facing slack demand -- not to mention a cratering stock price.

All of this was fodder today for a spate of unsolicited advice for the company.

The New York Times' Dealbook called for breaking the company in two. If that sounds familiar, that's exactly what former HP CEO Leo Apotheker tried to do -- and then got fired.

MarketWatch warns that CEO Meg Whitman may get the ax and bullet-points HP's litany of financial sins.

Then Business Insider jumped on HP's case for trying to pin the Autonomy fiasco on an ex-CTO. This issue surfaced when Whitman spoke to analysts earlier in the day.

And now Autonomy is trying to the shift the blame to HP as Autonomy's Mike Lynch demands that HP prove it was duped into buying the company.

All of the above follows downgrades and reduced stock price targets from securities firms including Raymond James, RBC Capital Markets, Credit Suisse, and Barclay's Capital.