Hewlett-Packard hired CEO Meg Whitman last year to turn the company around, but judging by HP's tumbling stock prices, she still has a long way to go. With computer sales slumping as customers move to newer mobile devices, HP released a grim profit outlook for the coming year on Wednesday, sending its shares dropping seven percent. Whitman is getting a lot of free advice from armchair advisers, some of whom have urged her to buy BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to gain instant access to the smartphone market, but she flatly says that's out of the question. Should she reconsider?

Yes. This is HP's only hope: Hewlett-Packard and RIM "have one choice if they hope to survive," says Rocco Pendola at The Street. Apple and other well-positioned competitors are eating them both for breakfast right now, but if they consolidate — and even join forces with another dinosaur, Dell — they might actually have "a fighting chance." Then at least HP would have a solid smartphone to offer. After that, it could hire innovative hotshots and "create some excitement."
"The only way HP, Dell, and RIM can survive"

RIM might work — but Nokia would be better: HP is considering "taking another stab at building a smartphone... an Android one," says Christopher Versace at Forbes. After previous in-house false starts — last year it gave up on the TouchPad and WebOS smartphone business — it's "better off acquiring an existing player." RIM might fit the bill, but its BlackBerrys have "taken it on the chin" since employers started letting people use their personal phones for work. Nokia might be a safer bet.
"Facing mobile woes, HP or Dell need Nokia"

Sorry, but HP knows better: RIM certainly needs to find a buyer to stay afloat, says Paul Shea at ValueWalk. Trouble is, the company's long-term prospects are so dark that its "shares may not be worth the paper they're written on." If anyone knows the danger of buying the beleaguered RIM it's Hewlett-Packard. Its "disastrous attempt to enter the tablet market" by purchasing Palm "almost led to it leaving the hardware business completely."
"Sell, break up, or die: RIM just lost two options"