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Archive for August, 2007

Hewlett-Packard Profit Rises 29%, Beating Estimates

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) — Hewlett-Packard Co.’s third-quarter profit rose 29 percent after the world’s largest personal- computer maker took market share from Dell Inc. The company also forecast earnings that topped estimates, driving up the shares.

Net income increased to $1.78 billion, or 66 cents a share, from $1.38 billion, or 48 cents, a year earlier, the Palo Alto, California-based company said today in a statement. Excluding some costs, profit was 71 cents a share, beating analysts’ estimates for the 10th straight quarter.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd has revived profit growth by slashing jobs and closing offices, cutting costs by more than $3 billion. Hurd, who took over in 2005, used the savings to trim PC and printer prices while preserving profit margins. He also benefited from lower component costs and sold more products through retailers, a tactic Dell is now mimicking.

“The turnaround is complete,” said Brent Bracelin, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon. He rates the shares “sector perform” and doesn’t own them. “This is now a growth story.”

Sales rose 16 percent to $25.4 billion in the quarter, which ended July 31. Hewlett-Packard in May had forecast profit, excluding some costs, of 64 cents to 65 cents a share on sales of $23.7 billion to $23.9 billion.

Hurd, 50, has beaten analysts’ profit estimates each quarter since taking over as CEO. This year may be the second in a row in which Hewlett-Packard tops International Business Machines Corp. in sales, and the first time its revenue surpasses $100 billion.

Company’s Forecast

Profit this quarter will be 80 cents to 81 cents a share, Hewlett-Packard said in the statement. The company forecast sales of $27 billion to $27.2 billion. Analysts had estimated profit of 78 cents and revenue of $26.6 billion.

“H-P is beginning to show signs of realizing its full potential,” Hurd told reporters on a conference call. “This is really significant growth.”

Hewlett-Packard, also the world’s largest printer maker, rose 90 cents, or 2 percent, to $46.95 in extended trading. The shares had fallen 10 cents to $46.05 at 4 p.m. in regular New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock reached the highest price in almost seven years last week, $49.84, and has climbed 12 percent this year.

Sales at the company’s software division soared 74 percent to $554 million, fueled by acquisitions of companies including Mercury Interactive Corp.

PC Sales

The company’s worldwide PC shipments rose 37 percent in the three months ended in June, while Dell’s fell 4.9 percent, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm IDC. Hewlett-Packard had the biggest PC shipment growth in 10 quarters, estimates Andrew Neff, a Bear Stearns analyst in New York.

After lagging behind Dell in the PC market since 2003, Hewlett-Packard reclaimed the top spot in the third quarter of 2006. Since then, the company has widened its lead.

Hewlett-Packard’s PC sales rose 29 percent to $8.89 billion on a 33 percent jump in shipments. Notebook sales climbed 54 percent, while desktop revenue increased 12 percent. Earnings at the PC unit rose to $519 million, widening its profit margin, or profit as a percentage of sales, to 5.8 percent from 4 percent.

Dell’s Strategy

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, which has spent the past two decades taking orders through its Web site and by telephone, backed away from that direct-sales strategy in June. The company began selling consumer systems through Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Hewlett-Packard “should be able to maintain the lead for the next 12 to 18 months,” said Chuck Jones, a San Francisco- based analyst for Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management, which oversees assets of $17 billion including Hewlett-Packard shares. Jones also owns the stock personally.

Hewlett-Packard’s printers and related supplies, its most profitable products, continued to take market share from Dell and Lexmark International Inc. last quarter, said UBS AG analyst Benjamin Reitzes.

The printer unit’s earnings rose 11 percent to $981 million last quarter. Sales climbed 8.3 percent to $6.75 billion, and the profit margin widened to 14.5 percent from 14.2 percent a year earlier. Supply sales rose 8.8 percent.

“When I joined, I heard all of these dire forecasts for Hewlett-Packard,” Hurd said in an interview. “I believe the best days of H-P are ahead of it, not behind it.”

(Hewlett-Packard held a conference call to discuss results. To hear a replay, see http://www.hp.com/investor/q32007webcast .)

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Iranian Students Fight Americans and Israelis in Computer Game

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

TEHRAN – An Iranian student organization has launched a computer game in which the player guns down American and Israeli soldiers to rescue imprisoned Iranian diplomats and steal secrets. The student group said the game “Special Operation 85: Hostage Rescue” does not promote terrorism and violence but rather Iranian patriotism and defense of Iran. The game was also designed as a response to “Assault on Iran” a U.S. game published in 2003 that simulates an American attack on an Iranian uranium enrichment plant.

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Computer hardware missing from Wasilla school

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

WASILLA — Thieves took about $3,000 worth of computer equipment Thursday night from the Correspondence Study School, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District said.
District spokeswoman Traci Crotteau said the building owner discovered on Friday morning that the back door of the school had been popped open. The incident was reported to the Wasilla Police Department, she said.

The school’s computer server and six hard drives were taken from the school at 600 E. Railroad Ave., Crotteau said. The server may have contained student information, she said, although teachers usually save such information to the district’s main hard drive instead.

Accessing information stored on the hard drives would be tough, Crotteau said.

“It’s not impossible to get the information off it, but it’s very, very difficult,” she said. “You know, if there’s a will there’s a way; but it would be very difficult.”

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Facebook Takes Action Against “Black Hat” Apps

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Some of the most popular Facebook applications are using highly questionable tactics to spread themselves virally. Facebook took action against these “black hat” apps today to stop the most egregious behavior – friend spamming

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