HP said the restructuring will help improve its branding, a challenge for a massive and storied technology company with a role in everything from computers to consulting. Unlike, say, Apple Inc. or IBM Corp., HP lacks an identity that people can associate with it, Wu said.
Ultimately, HP will have to define the "big picture" of what the company stands for, Wu said. "What is HP?"
Gillett said HP is "trying to get back to a more integrated, coherent identity as a company."
"What I will be watching is whether they will translate that into more coherent, more integrated product innovation and consumer experience," he said.
HP, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., had briefly combined the two businesses before, under the leadership of Carly Fiorina. Mark Hurd reversed that when he took over as CEO in 2005, when the printer division was still thriving.
The printing and PC units together made up about half of HP's $30 billion revenue in the November-January quarter.
Revenue from the printing division was $25.8 billion in the fiscal year that ended in October, down 13 percent from three years earlier. Meanwhile, operating profit of the printing division has dropped 13 percent to $4 billion over the same period.
The PC division, while less profitable, has held up better. Revenue has dropped 6 percent from 2008, to $39.6 billion, while operating income has been flat, at $2.4 billion.
HP's stock fell 52 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $23.46 on Wednesday.
AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman and AP Technology Writers Michael Liedtke and Peter Svensson contributed to this story. Liedtke reported from San Francisco.
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