HP CEO: Autonomy Commitment Remains
Despite the $8.8 billion write-down, the charges of fraud, the impending investigations over accounting wrongdoings and possible lawsuits and the vitriolic war of words, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) still loves Autonomy, the U.K. enterprise management software vendor it bought in August, 2011 for a kingly $11.7 billion.
How do we know this? Because HP chief Meg Whitman just said so. At a London roadshow for the vendor’s new Project Moonshot servers along with a stopover at Autonomy’s headquarters in Cambridge (where 500 people work), Whitman not only praised its technology but also said the developer is “critical to our strategy,” quickly dispelling any notion that HP wants to dump it to the highest bidder.
“This is terrific technology,” she said. “It’s almost magical technology. What it allows customers to do to understand all the unstructured data, the application to legal and compliance – it is terrific technology.” And, about the reassuring part to soothe skittish Autonomy employees? “We remain committed to this technology, we remain committed to Cambridge, we remain committed to the UK, we are going to grow this business.”
This from the HP leader who, in the wake of the Autonomy revelations, pointed the finger anywhere and at anyone she could. If you recall, she said if she had to do it over again she wouldn’t have voted for the acquisition, she blamed former HP chief Leo Apotheker and the accounting firm Deloitte, and, of course, former Autonomy founder Mike Lynch, while freeing from responsibility HP’s board of directors and chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak, the only person who realistically, earned a pardon owing to her initial, vehement opposition to the deal.
As for disclosing the swiss cheese aspects of the Autonomy deal, Whitman said that the “magnitude of the accounting improprieties, the disclosure failures, the outright misrepresentations, was so substantial that there was not even an option to not be straight up about this, because we needed to explain to our investors, to employees, what had actually happened here,” adding, “with 20/20 hindsight, knowing what we know, now we paid too much.”
HP recently said Autonomy’s new channel partner program will map to the vendor’s broader PartnerOne program, which means existing HP partners should be able to rapidly incorporate Autonomy’s technology into their portfolios. Multiple HP product groups (storage, servers, networking) are expected to cross-integrate their solutions with Autonomy.