Hewlett-Packard's accounting mess
gallery big tech mistakes autonomy hp
Autonomy founder Mike Lynch vehemently denied accusations of fraud.

No one thought 2012 would be smooth sailing for Hewlett-Packard, but few expected the company to take a giant step backwards.

That's precisely what happened after CEO Meg Whitman announced in November that the tech giant would be writing down $8.8 billion of Autonomy -- a company HP bought just a year earlier. About $5 billion of that write-down was due to accounting fraud at the software business, Whitman claimed. (Autonomy founder Mike Lynch strongly denies the allegations.)

Once again, HP (HPQ, Fortune 500) found itself fighting off allegations of mismanagement. Whitman was supposed to settle the mess that former CEO Leo Apotheker left; investors hoped that a decade filled with boardroom scandals and horrible decisions by executives was behind the company. Not so much.

HP shares have been on a sharp downward trajectory all year. Three multi-billion-dollar losses on write-downs in five quarters angered shareholders, and the Autonomy scandal sent the stock to a 10-year low.

  @DavidGoldmanCNN - Last updated December 26 2012 11:49 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.