HP is not progressing as quickly as it needs

A week after ousting chief executive &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/04/16/27686.html' target=_blank>Carly Fiorina, computer giant &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/09/04/35961.html' target=_blank>Hewlett-Packard said first-quarter earnings and sales both gained but its figures pointed to growing competition in its flagship printer division.

The company said it was pressing on with its search for a replacement for Fiorina, who engineered the $18.9bn (£10bn) takeover of Compaq Computer in 2002 but failed to wring enough benefits from the deal to satisfy the HP board.

The figures for the three months to January had been keenly awaited by analysts for a detailed insight into the company's financial health after it parted company with its high-profile boss, reports This is London.

Rival computer-maker Dell reported robust earnings last week, with sales up 17 percent and operating earnings up 21 percent. "Dell is more profitable, and they're growing faster," said Martin Reynolds, vice president and analyst at research firm Gartner in San Jose. "HP is missing the mark in some way, shape or form, and that has to be corrected."

HP's lackluster performance has led some analysts to say the firm would be better off split up. The board has not embraced that idea. "There's nothing inherently bad about the results, Reynolds said. "It's just that HP is not progressing as quickly as it needs to."

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