HP Confirms Cutting PC, webOS Businesses, Autonomy Acquisition

Thursday Aug 18th 2011 by Chris Preimesberger

It was a tumultuous day in HP history as the company cuts a division, adds a global cloud service company and delivers a dire financial report.


Reaction to News Comes Fast

Initial reactions to the news were many and varied.

"If HP spins off their PC business ... maybe they will call it Compaq?" tweeted Dell CEO Michael Dell on Aug. 18.

"If the rumors are true [about Autonomy], then HP stands to add a substantial software company to complement Vertica and 3PAR, for instance," Charles King, primary analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK. "Really interesting company. They can provide the search analytics at the big data-type software layer that HP lacks right now."

"On the product side, it will mean some serious portfolio rationalization," Enterprise Strategy Group e-discovery analyst Katey Wood wrote in her blog. "In archiving, Autonomy possesses its Zantaz archiving line, including Digital Safe, the acquired Information Governance assets of CA, and now Mimosa following the recent acquisition of Iron Mountain's digital assets, while HP has its own Integrated Archiving Platform.  In records management, HP has TRIM where Autonomy has Meridio and iManage content management from its acquisition of Interwoven.

"But like the Brady Bunch, this group must somehow form a family. ... Hold onto your e-discovery hats!"

Craig Carpenter, general counsel and VP of marketing of e-discovery provider Recommind, told eWEEK that "it's no secret HP has been wanting to move into cloud software and services. Given the hyper-growth in corporate data, the information management industry is the right place to make that move. We've seen especially strong demand for hosted eDiscovery review, which HP gets with the Autonomy purchase. Regulation, litigation and corporate data volumes are only going to increase, so this is a smart move for HP."

Autonomy Has Been Building Itself Up

Autonomy has been quietly gathering the pieces it needs to become a big-time digital content handler. In 2005 Autonomy acquired Verity, one of its main competitors, for approximately $500 million. In July 2007 it acquired Zantaz, an email archiving and litigation support company, for $375 million.

It bought Web content management provider Interwoven, a niche provider of enterprise content management software, for $775 million in 2009. In June 2010, the company acquired the information governance business of CA Technologies; terms of that sale were not disclosed.

Autonomy, with a market cap of $7 billion, is the second-largest pure software company in Europe (behind Germany's SAP) and has offices worldwide. Its customers include T-Mobile, Exxon, Toyota, Nestle, McGraw-Hill, General Motors, Federal Express, Sony, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Department of Defense, and a number of other Fortune 1000 enterprises. 

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