Dell, HP earnings: Business customers carry the quarters

Corporate sales carry Dell's second quarter while consumer sales remain flat. HP also reports.

As expected, Dell's second quarter was carried largely by sales to corporate customers as demand was on the rise worldwide for the company's enterprise offerings, including servers and networking systems, storage and services. (Statement)

And Hewlett-Packard, which pre-reported earnings on August 6 at the same time it announced the resignation of then-CEO Mark Hurd, made its official earnings announcement today - without any reference to Hurd. For its third quarter, HP reported earnings of $1.08 on sales of $30.7 billion. Wall Street had been expecting eps of $1.07 on revenue of $30.46 billion. (Statement)

HP's statement was all business, with a brief statement from CFO and Interim CEO Cathie Lesjak: "The broad-based strength of HP’s Q3 performance further demonstrates the power of our strategy and the discipline of our execution. We raised our full-year outlook and are continuing to build momentum in driving out costs, investing for profitable growth and capitalizing on HP’s competitive advantages in the marketplace.”

Enterprise Storage and Servers were the shining star with a reported total revenue of $4.4 billion, up 19 percent. That compares to services, which saw revenue increase by 1 percent to $8.6 billion.

Previous coverage: Is it Dell's time to shine vs. HP?

Separately, Dell, for its second quarter, reported net income of $629 million, or 32 cents per share, on sales of $15.53 billion, a 22 percent increase over the year ago quarter. Wall Street had been expecting eps of 30 cents per share on sales of $15.2 billion for its fiscal second quarter.

Large enterprise saw the greatest revenue growth across business segments, up 38 percent to $4.5 billion. Small and Medium Business revenue saw a 25 percent increase, to $3.5 billion. Consumer, by contrast, was flat at $2.9 million.

In a statement, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell said:

We continue to strengthen our portfolio of data center solutions at an aggressive pace with the addition of key IP, talent and technology. This quarter’s results are a strong reflection of the progress we’ve made, and we remain very focused on delivering the best possible solutions and services to meet our customers’ IT needs.

In a conference call with analysts, executives said that there's continued evidence that the demand and refresh cycles among corporate customers will remain strong. They said the adoption of Windows 7 among its "significantly large install base" is still small. They also noted that research firms point to significant migrations to Windows 7 to occur within the next six months and continue for 24 months.

Executives were also asked about the sluggish consumer market and how much of that may be due to anticipation over tablets. Specifically, could tablets hamper PC sales for the holiday season? Michael Dell didn't downplay the significance of tablets but said that next year, not this year, is when tablets might have more of an impact on other segments. He noted that there's a lot of excitement around Android and that Dell is "participating in that. There are lots of folks working on tablets and touch-type solutions."

Shares of Dell were down in regular trading, closing at $12.04. Shares of HP were down in regular trading, closing at $40.76. Both companies saw continued declines in after-hours trading.

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