Hewlett Packard Wants Autonomy in More Ways Than One

Hewlett Packard revealed Thursday that it is in talks to buy British software company Autonomy for $10 billion.

But HP is also looking for “autonomy” in another fashion – freedom from its webOS smartphone and tablet endeavors.

The globe’s largest PC maker says it plans to “spin off its PC business.”

In short, HP is effectively dumping its newly acquired webOS smartphone and tablet business. Instead, HP will shift its focus to software and related services, reports the Wall Street Journal.

H-P’s tablet is the TouchPad, an iPad rival that went on sale in July starting at $499. Earlier this month, HP cut its price 20 percent. HP got webOS when it acquired Palm Inc. in April 2010 for $1.2 billion. H-P may license the webOS software to others.

Prior to today’s announcement, HP Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker openly acknowledged his interest in expanding his company’s posturing in software and cloud services, all the while lessening HP’s “dependence on PCs, where growth has stalled as consumers flock to smartphones and tablet-style computers like those made by Apple Inc.,” Bloomberg noted.

HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

This morning, HP also announced preliminary results for the third fiscal quarter 2011, with revenue of $31.2 billion compared with $30.7 billion one year ago.