Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) plans to jettison 27,000 workers as the growing popularity of smartphones, the iPad and other mobile devices makes it tougher for the company to sell personal computers.

The cuts announced Wednesday represent the HP’s largest payroll purge in its 73-year history. The reductions will affect about 8 percent of Hewlett-Packard Co.’s nearly 350,000 employees by the time the overhaul is completed in October 2014.

HP is the world’s No. 1 PC manufacturer.

Lenovo, which is No. 2, bases its executive headquarters in Morrisville, N.C.

Rumors had circulated for several days about the cuts.

The news came on the same day that Lenovo announced a strong quarter of growth and record revenues and profits for its last fiscal year.

HP hopes to avoid as many layoffs by offering early retirement packages.

The company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., expects to save as much as $3.5 billion annually from the job cuts and other austerity measures.

News of the cutbacks overshadowed the release of HP’s latest quarterly results. The company’s earnings and revenue were both better than analysts projected.