Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, may be getting ready to drop out of the PC business altogether. The news comes as a result of sluggish computer sales in recent years, as customers increasingly turn to smart-phones and tablets. The company is also planning to quit selling its own tablets and smart-phones, a market space where it was struggling to compete with giants like Apple and Google. At the same time, H-P agreed to buy British database-search firm Autonomy Corp., seeking to expand its activities in the more profitable software business. The move comes after months of turmoil at H-P, where several executive-level re-shufflings have followed the ouster a year ago of the company’s chief executive over ethics concerns. Investors showed little enthusiasm for H-P’s about-face, with company shares declining 6 per cent to $29.51 amid a broader market selloff on Thursday.