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Sales for HP and Gateway even worse than expected

Gateway laying off thousands

Hewlett Packard and Gateway have both warned that their financial results are coming in below expectations, with Gateway saying that it plans to cut its workforce of 20,000-plus employees by more than 10 percent after suffering a £63 million fourth-quarter loss.

HP, meanwhile, disclosed that it no longer expects to meet earlier projections for its first quarter, which ends this month.

The computer maker had reaffirmed its 2001 projections just over a month ago, but CEO Carly Fiorina said as part of Thursday's announcement that there has been "a significant change in market conditions" since those reassurances were given.

HP had been counting on continued strength in purchases by business users, according to Fiorina. But she noted during a conference call that business spending "decelerated rapidly" during December.

"Many of our [enterprise-level] clients are simply responding cautiously to an uncertain economic environment," she added.

As a result, Fiorina said, HP only expects its revenue growth to be in "the low- to mid-single-digits" during the first half of 2001.

Gateway had already said in late November that its fourth-quarter revenue would be almost £335 million lower than projected, making it one of several PC vendors to issue such warnings after it became apparent that expected demand wasn't materialising.

But yesterday Gateway reported that its actual fourth-quarter results were "significantly lower" than even the revised estimates due to what it described as "a continued deterioration of worldwide PC demand and increased pricing pressure."

That double whammy is expected to continue being felt at least through the first half of this year.

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