“Hewlett-Packard Co. took an $8.8 billion charge citing ‘a willful effort to mislead investors and potential buyers’ at Autonomy Corp., the software company it agreed to purchase last year for $10.3 billion,” Aaron Ricadela reports for Bloomberg.

“More than $5 billion of the total charge is due to accounting practices, which were disclosed by a senior executive at Autonomy after founder Mike Lynch departed, Hewlett-Packard said. Autonomy’s U.K. spokesman George Lockett didn’t have an immediate comment,” Ricadela reports. “Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker agreed to buy Autonomy, the second-largest U.K. software maker, to expand in cloud-computing and add software that searches a broad range of data, including e-mails, music, videos and posts on social networks such as Facebook Inc.”

Ricadela reports, “The shares of Hewlett-Packard fell as much as 12 percent in early trading… [HP] is down 48 percent this year. Also today, Hewlett-Packard forecast fiscal first-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates amid a continuing slump in personal computer sales. Earnings excluding some items will be 68 cents to 71 cents a share for the period, which ends in January, Hewlett-Packard said in a separate statement. Analysts on average had estimated profit of 85 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg… The earnings report came less than a week after Dell Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter revenue fell 11 percent and PC sales dropped 19 percent, amid competition from Apple Inc.’s iPad…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s like a Laurel & Hardy movie: Meg keeps trying to “turnaround,” but the steering wheel keeps coming off in her hands. Meanwhile, Apple long ago moved to flight, so Meg’s road is a dead end.

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Apple is killing Dell and Hewlett-Packard – August 6, 2012