Hurd had previously warned that he would focus on cost control. But, while the measures appear to bolster HP's financial performance and increase profitability, they fail to comfort end users looking for signs that the vendor is committed to its product lines.
"What is surprising is the degree to which Hurd's first big announcement is so singularly about those essentially operational questions, as opposed to bigger issues about HP's underpinning strategy and role in the IT supplier landscape," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst at Illuminata, who had expected more details about the company's future technology strategy.
HP unfolded a corporate restructuring on Tuesday that will see the elimination of the Customer Solutions Group, a unit that sought to increase systems sales and spawned several HP divisions. The company will also cut staff from back-office functions including human resources and finances.
The restructuring will result in 14,500 job cuts, roughly 10 per cent of the company's workforce. HP expects the move to result in annual cost savings of $1.9bn by 2007.
The biggest news, however, might have been in what Hurd failed to do, according to Carl Claunch, a research vice president with Gartner.
"The programme is consistent with the strategic approach HP has taken for the past year, with no major changes to strategy, products and initiatives, and no break up of the business into separate companies," he said.
HP had been pressured to realign its businesses and to spin off its printer division or PC-making group. Critics argued that the groups would perform bet ter as standalone units.
But the threat of HP cutting loose divisions led to uncertainty with buyers, who delayed buying new equipment as a result.
"The staff reductions appear to be aimed mainly at eliminating inefficiencies within the company, and seem to have been targeted carefully to avoid impacting demand generation, customer satisfaction or revenue," Claunch concluded.
Research firm IDC pointed out that this week's lay-offs could be just a prelude to a strategic shift in HP's focus.
"The company must balance the need for next-generation innovation with the realities of participating in very low cost markets," a group of six of the firm's analysts wrote.
"We expect the company to address product and service portfolio breadth, channel models, financing strategies and portfolio holes on a regular and ongoing basis."
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