This sounds scarily like the $8 billion write-off that tainted HP's Q3 balance sheet, but the source of the company's woes is different this time. It's had to take a nearly $9 billion writedown on the value of one of its biggest assets, the British software company Autonomy, following the discovery of serious accounting "improprieties." These concerns cast major doubt over the $11 billion sum that HP coughed up to purchase Autonomy last year, and have a direct impact on both these Q4 earnings and the reported earnings for 2012. Nevertheless, fourth-quarter net revenue still hit $30 billion, which is a 7 percent fall year-over-year, or just a 4 percent fall if you're kind enough to factor in the effects of currency. Of that income, the company managed to clutch onto $2.3 billion as profit -- a 3 percent fall compared to the end of 2011.
Speaking during the earnings call, CEO Meg Whitman stressed that HP remains "100 percent committed to Autonomy and its industry leading technology," and more generally described HP's turnaround strategy as a "multi-year journey" that "will not be linear."