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PC sales during the latest quarter fell by about 10 percent from the same time last year, Whitman said. She traced the decline to fierce price competition, a growing preference for tablet computers and smartphones, and postponed purchases among buyers waiting for the release of a new line of machines running Windows 8, a radical overhaul of Microsoft Corp.’s operating system set for release October 26.

Whitman’s clampdown on expenses also appeared to be delivering savings more quickly than Wall Street anticipated. If not for the company’s various charges, HP said it would have earned $1 per share. That figure was 2 cents per share above analyst estimates.