HP Announces 27,000 Job Cuts

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Tech giant Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to cut 27,000 employees after revealing that third-quarter results will be lower than expected.

The company outlined plans after the close of the stock market for a "multi-year productivity initiative designed to simplify business processes, advance innovation and deliver better results for customers, employees and shareholders."

The world's largest computer maker, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had 349,600 employees as of October 31, 2011.

The announcement was expected by the media and analysts after unconfirmed reports of layoffs last week. HP said it expects "approximately 27,000 employees to exit the company, or 8.0 percent of its workforce as of Oct. 31, 2011, by the end of fiscal year 2014." The total number of employees affected will be lower because employees are being offered an early retirement plan. Since replacing former chief executive Leo Apothekar in September, HP CEO Meg Whitman has announced declining computer sales amid sharp competition from Apple Inc. and other electronics makers.

"These initiatives build upon our recent organizational realignment, and will further streamline our operations, improve our processes, and remove complexity from our business," Whitman said in a statement. "While some of these actions are difficult because they involve the loss of jobs, they are necessary to improve execution and to fund the long term health of the company. We are setting HP on a path to extend our global leadership and deliver the greatest value to customers and shareholders." Hewlett-Packard stock has dropped 18 percent this year. Its shares fell 3.2 percent today to a closing price of $21.08.

The computer company reported sales fell 3 percent in its second quarter, which ended in April, to $30.7 billion.