Hewlett-Packard will reportedly split into two companies

The legendary Hewlett-Packard is reportedly about to become two companies.

One will focus on the firm’s personal computer and printer business, and the other on its business hardware and services, according to a story in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The publication, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said the split may be made public as early as tomorrow.

Division of labour

The Journal said that current CEO Meg Whitman will become CEO of the enterprise-oriented company, and independent director Patricia Russo will be chairman. Whitman will serve as chairman of the PC/printer firm, and exec Dion Weisler will be CEO.

HP has been struggling with its dual selves of being oriented toward businesses’ high-end needs and toward personal computers and printers.

Various company executives have in the past discussed spinning off its PC unit, only to be followed by the company asserting its long-term interest in PCs.

Needed break-up?

In 2000, Agilent Technologies split off from HP, taking with it the test and measurement equipment business that was HP’s first line of business.

The company had long reigned as the top PC maker in the world, although it dropped to second place last year in the rankings of industry research firm IDC, after Lenovo.

Its printer/personal systems group rakes in about $56 billion in fiscal 2013, about half the company’s total, but sales are down about seven percent from the previous year.