HP, the world's second-largest PC vendor behind Lenovo, plans to separate its PC and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing "people familiar with the matter." The company could announce the move as early as Monday, according to the Journal's sources.
HP declined to comment. (Editors' note, Oct. 6 at 4:33 a.m. PT: On Monday, HP officially announced its plans to break into two companies.)
The split is apparently one HP and its investors have been contemplating for a long time, said the Journal. HP's printing and personal systems group, which includes PCs, tablets, printers and other accessories, pulled in revenue of $55.9 billion during the company's 2013 fiscal year, almost half of its total revenue.
Even so, HP as currently constituted doesn't have "enough focus on any one area to really dominate," wrote Larry Dignan at CNET sister site ZDNet, in a look at why a breakup of HP would be a good move. Meanwhile, he continued, the "printer and PC division [are] fighting for innovation spending with the enterprise side of the house. That's a lot of hands in an R&D pie that equates to about 3 percent of revenue."
Whitman will be chairman of the new PC and printer business and chief executive of the separate "enterprise company," one source told the Journal, while board member Patricia Russo will be chairman of the enterprise company. Don Weisler, the current executive vice president of HP's printing and personal systems group, will step in as CEO of the PC and printer business, according to the Journal.
This isn't the first time HP has attempted to jettison its PC business. In 2011, former Chief Executive Leo Apotheker tried to spin off the company's PC-making division. Investors rejected the move, and Apotheker was forced out. Whitman reversed the decision when she took over as CEO and began a "multiyear journey" to revive HP.