PALO ALTO -- When technology giant Hewlett-Packard gives Wall Street analysts its annual corporate pep talk Wednesday, some industry experts think the news will be fairly gloomy and that the company might even announce more cost cutting.
"We believe expectations are fairly bearish," Wells Fargo's analysts concluded in a note this week to their clients. Although the Palo Alto-based company already is in the final stages of cutting 29,000 jobs as part of a broad restructuring, the analysts said, "further restructuring could also help."
But tech analyst Rob Enderle doesn't anticipate any blockbuster announcements -- good or bad.
"You don't surprise at this kind of event," he said. "This is really their chance to talk about what they have done and their progress. Keeping folks comfortable with the process is critical."
Despite being Silicon Valley's second biggest company in annual revenue, next to Apple, HP has run into trouble in recent years. Its $120 billion in sales last year was down $7 billion from the year before. And while Meg Whitman, who took over as CEO in September 2011, has been praised for reorganizing the company, reshuffling its executive ranks and reordering its priorities, she has warned it could take years to revitalize the storied company.
Besides being slammed by the sluggish world economy, much of HP's problems have stemmed from its reliance on personal computer and printer product sales, which many consumers are shunning as they access information with smartphones and tablets.
The corporation is trying to gain traction in the mobile-device business, but its progress in that market has been slow. Critics also have faulted HP for lacking focus. It sells everything from networking switches and routers to data storage devices and calculators. Moreover, HP has been plagued in recent years by several corporate acquisitions that went awry.
The most controversial deal involved its $11 billion purchase of British software company Autonomy in 2011. HP later wrote off about $8.8 billion of that investment, saying it had been misled about Autonomy's value. The embarrassing revelation was largely responsible for a major shake-up of HP's board.