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HP continues to suffer from massive PC slump

Julianne Pepitone

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The world of personal computing has changed, and Hewlett-Packard simply isn't adjusting well to the evolution.

As PC sales continue to slump around the world, formerly mighty HP is suffering. Sales of consumer PCs fell a stunning 22% over the year during the company's fiscal third quarter, and HP's overall PC and tablet sales declined 11%.

Overall, HP's sales and earnings for the quarter were in line with Wall Street's dour estimates. HP's earnings came in at $1.4 billion in the company's fiscal third quarter, up from a $8.9 billion loss on a hefty writedown of its services business. Excluding those one-time charges, HP's profit would have fallen by 14%. Sales fell 8% to $27.2 billion.

HP shares fell nearly 2% in after-hours trading.

CEO Meg Whitman has admitted that HP is struggling, repeating several times that HP's turnaround won't be "linear" as it tries to thrive in a tablet- and smartphone-centric world. She hasn't shied away from making big moves, including executive shakeups -- she has moved around many of HP's honchos in recent months. On Wednesday she reassigned enterprise head Dave Donatelli and Chief Marketing Officer Marty Homlish. PC chief Todd Bradley was shuffled to another division in June, and printing division chief Vyomesh "VJ" Joshi -- a 32-year veteran of HP -- stepped down early last year.

Whitman has also embarked on an aggressive cost-cutting scheme that includes plans to eliminate 29,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2014.

Investors have rewarded Whitman's big decisions. HP's stock is up an incredible 79% year-to-date. But after several years of decline, HP shares had virtually nowhere to go but up.

Still, the company faces serious problems. HP is struggling to reconnect with consumers as the PC market continues to contract at an alarming rate. Shipments of PCs around the world fell by 11% last quarter, according to tech research firm Gartner.

The PC woes ailing HP have also hurt its other big firms in the industry. Last month Intel reported a profit drop of 29% over the year. Google and Microsoft missed earnings estimates, and Microsoft also took a massive writedown on its Surface tablet. Apple's profit fell 22% but still beat Wall Street estimates. And Dell is in the throes of going private in order to survive long term.

The corporate side of tech hasn't fared much better lately. Last week, behemoth Cisco announced it would lay off 4,000 employees, or 5% of its workforce. IBM recently reported earnings that topped analyst estimates, but sales fell on an annual basis for the fifth straight quarter.

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