HP enters enterprise software's top ranks

Michael Carroll
23 Aug 2011
Daily News

HP has immediately moved into the premier league of enterprise software vendors with its plan to acquire Autonomy for $11.5 billion, a senior Ovum analyst claims.

Information management expert Mike Davis says the purchase pitches HP against industry giants including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP, but that the competition is a risk worth taking to capitalize on myriad opportunities a combined HP/Autonomy portfolio offers.

“Autonomy has long been regarded as the ‘king of search’ for the enterprise, particularly since it acquired ‘larger’ rival Verity in 2005,” Davis explains. He adds that Ovum regards Autonomy as the “UK’s ‘Oracle’” due to its role in eDiscovery and enterprise content management markets.

Davis believes Autonomy’s acquisition track record is the bedrock of its success, and that the same will apply to HP when it completes its purchase of the firm. “There are strategic synergies with the earlier acquisitions (not least the BI specialist Vertica), and given previous HP and Autonomy purchases, customers of both companies should regard this move as more of an opportunity than a risk.”

The same, however, cannot be said of HP’s plan to ditch its WebOS platform following poor sales of its TouchPad tablet.

Davis’ colleague Nick Dillon notes the plan means HP is moving against the tide by ditching hardware for software and services. The announcement came within days of Google’s plan to buy Motorola Mobility and leaves HP “at the mercy of other platform and hardware providers, many of whom also have competitive services and software,” Dillon states.

While Dillon speculates that HP is unlikely to find licensees for the operating system – which he notes it acquired for $1.2 billion a little over a year ago – he says the platform might “make a tempting purchase for a handset maker looking to end its reliance on Google and/or Microsoft,” or for firms including Facebook and Amazon that are seeking a route into mobile.

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