TAKING ITS LICKS: Hewlett-Packard Co. absorbed an $8.9 billion loss in its latest quarter as the technology company accounted for the poor performance of a past acquisition. It represented HP's biggest loss since its 1939 inception in a Silicon Valley garage.

THE ALBATROSS: HP paid $13 billion to buy technology consultant service Electronic Data Systems. That deal hasn't delivered adequate returns to justify the price, forcing HP to reduce the value of the business.

NO TURNAROUND IN SIGHT: In a Wednesday conference call with analysts, HP CEO Meg Whitman stressed the company faces "serious execution issues" and a tough economy.