HP CEO Meg Whitman has revealed that the company is still in the market for technology industry acquisitions - but "only" up to $1.5bn in value.
Speaking in a US television interview after unveiling lacklustre financial results, Whitman told CNBC that the company is looking for deals in a number of target areas.
"Acquisitions will become part of our future, to further some of our strategic initiatives and shore up some of the product holes," she said.
She continued: "We don't need a five or six billion-dollar acquisition. I think there are acquisitions in the $100m, $300m range, maybe some up to $1bn to $1.5bn, that we might be interested in."
Emphasising the breadth of HP as an organisation, she added: "We're the only company that can go from devices to infrastructure to services to software and this is a huge point of difference... There's a lot to be said for HP today and we aim to prove that."
Whitman was CEO while HP was buying British software vendor Autonomy, signing off on the $10.2bn deal in December 2011 after she was appointed to replace the ousted Leo Apotheker. A year later, the company was forced to drastically write-down the value of Autonomy after accusing former management of "accounting irregularities".
Other stockholder-value-immolating deals that HP has embarked on in recent years include the purchase of services company EDS in 2008 and the acquisition of handheld computer maker Palm in 2010 for $1.2bn.
HP bought EDS for a premium of $13.9bn just before the global financial crisis and subsequent squeeze on IT services spending, especially in the banking sector. It still has yet to recover. It was running on operating margins of just 3.3 per cent in the company's last quarterly financial results.
The acquisition of Palm, meanwhile, was intended to provide an operating system - WebOS - for tablet computers just as the open source Android operating system from Google was taking off. HP's plans to also use it as a base to make smartphones were still-born.
The Palm technology was shutdown just over a year after HP had acquired it - and just six months after HP had unveiled its line of WebOS-based tablets.
Whitman, though, was keen to reassure nervous shareholders over the company's acquisition strategy during the results conference call with analysts and press.
"We will be incredibly measured and disciplined. We are very mindful of the event that we just came off with Autonomy, so don't worry about that," she said. "As we see these big tectonic plate shifts, there's no question that acquisitions are going to have to be a part of how we turn this company around."
In the television interview, Whitman also ruled out any major sales of HP units - such as its PC and laptop division - or even a break-up of the company.