Hewlett-Packard Combines Printer, PC Units

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) has combined its printing unit with its personal-computer division, helping end speculation that the technology giant would follow competitors in spinning off divisions.

The move aims to strengthen the company's market position and get new products out faster, the company said Friday.

In December, Hewlett-Packard Chairman Carly Fiorina (search) said the company's board had three times considered breaking up the technology giant, but decided its diversified portfolio of printers, computers, digital cameras, servers and information-technology services helped it weather fluctuations in the cyclical technology sector.

By contrast, IBM sold its PC segment in December because its margins had become razor thin.

Palo Alto-based HP named Vyomesh Joshi head of the newly created division. Joshi currently leads the printing unit, the company's most profitable.

Duane Zitzner, head of the PC division, retired. Zitzner, 57 years old, will work with Joshi, 50, for an unspecified period to execute the combination.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, ended Oct. 31, HP's printing unit posted operating profit of $1.1 billion, up 7 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 5 percent to $6.5 billion, as H-P shipped a record 14 million printers.

The PC group reported quarterly operating profit of $78 million, a gain of more than three times the year-earlier quarter's $22 million. Revenue for the division rose 9 percent to $6.5 billion.

HP shares rose 1 cent to $19.96 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange (search).