Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

While Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) and Avnet’s
(NYSE:AVT) CEOs have recently mentioned the
word “bottom” when referring to the current economic crisis, that’s not a word
that was in Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) CEO
Mark Hurd’s vocabulary during the computer giant’s second-quarter conference
call with analysts this week.

Instead, HP’s CEO provided a more
conservative outlook on the state of the economy and the market, and the
outlook for HP’s sales in 2009. The company narrowed its forecast for fiscal
year 2009 from a 2 percent to 5 percent decline in sales to a 4 percent to 5
percent decline in sales, leaving some scratching their heads as to whether
we’ve actually hit bottom or not.

“I think we see the market as roughly the same,” Hurd told an analyst who had
asked about the narrower range.

Hurd said that he’s seen some encouraging signs at a macro level, such as
stronger-than-expected business in China
and some slight improvements in the U.S.
consumer business.

“In terms of the rest of the market, I could tell you a lot of stories with a
lot of different signs, but I’m not ready to call it better, beyond the two
that I described to you,” he said. “So I think you should view this as sort of
steady as she goes.”

For Q2, HP reported net revenue down 3 percent to $27.4 billion. Net earnings
came in at $1.7 billion, down from $2.1 billion for the same period a year ago.

For the quarter, HP services led in revenues, contributing $8.5 billion,
compared with last year’s $4.3 billion in Q2. Services, which now include the EDS
acquisition, have become HP’s largest division. Enterprise Storage and Servers
contributed $3.5 billion to revenues compared with $3.9 billion in the previous
sequential quarter and $4.8 billion in the same quarter a year ago.  HP
Software contributed $880 million to revenues compared with $1 billion during
the same period a year ago. (All these organizations are part of HP’s
Technology Solutions Group.)

The story was the same for many of HP’s other divisions. The company’s Personal
Systems Group saw sales fall to $8.2 billion in Q2 from $10.1 billion during
the same period a year ago. HP’s Imaging and Printing Group saw sales plunge to
$5.9 billion in Q2, down from $7.6 billion during the same period last year.
And HP Financial Services saw revenue fall to $641 million in Q2 from $685
million for the same period last year.

HP executives also noted that the company’s supplies business declined 7
percent and 14 percent in the last two quarters, respectively.

“I think you should expect probably in Q3 a bit more of what you saw in Q2 for
us,” Hurd said. “There are some places that we did a very good job in IPG
[Imaging and Printing Group], managing the collective owned inventory and
channel inventory. We feel very good about that. But there are some places that
we’d like to align the mix of hardware with supplies within the context of the
channel inventory.”

Hurd said that HP will go after more market share in this area in Q3 because
“we had some hardware situations where we had some outages” in Q2. “We could
have shipped some more hardware units in the quarter than we did. So we’ll try
to take advantage of those opportunities from a market share perspective in

Hurd said the company will lay off an additional 2 percent of its work force,
or 6,000 employees.