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Rumor: HP to spin off its PC business

Hewlett-Packard, the single biggest PC maker in the world, could be getting ready to spin off its PC side of the business. Bloomberg reports via unnamed sources that the company could announced its decision to get rid of its PC division as early as today as part of its quarterly financial announcement. The same article also claims that HP is planning to acquire the UK based company Autonomy Corp. for $10 billion. The company creates software for database search efforts. An HP spokesperson would not comment on Bloomberg's announcement.

If true, HP's decision could send shock waves in the entire PC business. The company still leads in PC sales, followed closely by Dell, so a move to spin off its PC business would be a massive shift in the industry. HP actually created what is considered the first personal computer, the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, way back in 1968 for $5,000. Later, Steve Wozniak offered HP the chance to purchase his design for what turned out to be the Apple 1 PC (he worked at HP at the time) but HP turned him down.

HP released PCs as well as a successful series of printers for much of the rest of the 20th century and in 2001 it acquired another large PC maker, Compaq. It later acquired the gaming PC maker Voodoo, but that move turned out to be unsuccessful. Most recently, HP acquired the Palm smartphone maker and its WebOS operating system. The company has been heavily pushing its HP TouchPad tablet since launching it in July, but there are reports that sales of the tablet have been poor so far.

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