HP shares slide 20% as Dell CEO takes public potshots

It's a tough morning for HP in the aftermath of the webOS and PC business announcements yesterday, with a plummeting share price and long-time foe Michael Dell not missing the opportunity to take potshots at the ailing firm. HP may have beaten expectations for the last financial quarter, with net revenues of $31.2bn, but the market has still reacted negatively; the company's share price is down around 20-percent this morning, to around $23.50 a share, the lowest seen since mid-2005. Meanwhile, the Dell CEO has taken to Google+ to call out his old rivals. "They are calling it a separation" he sniped on Google+, "but it feels like a divorce."

"If HP spins off their PC business" he continued, "maybe they will call it Compaq?" Dell has adopted Google+ quickly, currently in the circles of almost 42,000 other users, where he posts a mixture of PR, brand hype, reminiscence over older tech and market research over potential new features and services. The HP comments are likely intended tongue-in-cheek, though some commenters have questioned what Dell would do with webOS were it in the same situation.

Cutting comments aside, HP is likely to be more concerned about its plummeting share price, an apparently sign that investors aren't entirely convinced with the firm's attempts to reposition itself as a software services leader. The company announced yesterday that it would acquire enterprise information management software specialist Autonomy, in a deal worth $10bn, far more than the $1.25bn it spend on Palm.

Questions over what HP will do with webOS linger, with the company indicating that it would be looking to license the platform rather than sell it on wholesale. Samsung, HTC, Amazon and others have all been suggested as possible good-fits for the OS, though none have stepped up and made any intentions public.