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HP Not Giving Up On Autonomy 36

Nerval's Lobster writes "After defeating a shareholder insurrection that largely stemmed from how it handled the Autonomy acquisition, Hewlett-Packard is trying to resuscitate the fortunes of that troubled analytics-software unit. In an interview, Robert Youngjohns, General Manager of the Autonomy division for HP, conceded that the controversy surrounding the acquisition and its aftermath has proven a significant distraction for the company. ... HP's ambitious turnaround plan involves focusing Autonomy technology, which can help find the right data in huge datasets, on areas such as Web content management and information governance. But it's a big question whether HP can overcome all the negative publicity swirling around Autonomy, widely seen as a poor acquisition: Back in November 2012, HP accused Autonomy's management team of using 'accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company.' It alerted the SEC's Enforcement Division and the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (Autonomy is based in the U.K.), and announced it would take an $8.8 billion write-down on Autonomy's value. That sort of thing could make Autonomy a tough sell to companies still trying to figure out if they even need so-called 'Big Data' tools."
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HP Not Giving Up On Autonomy

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  • Despite the distractions, Autonomy has some real promise in the 'unstructured data' world. What remains to be seen is how well HP can integrate the bits into their other products. Oracle disses the acquisition but doesn't have a comparable product.

    • I do agree with this. On one of the products that I had once supported, it was fairly impressive when it worked. Unfortunately, it didn't quite scale well particularly with the largest clients. There were a bunch of moving parts of the product, some open-source, some propriety and often an issue is from one part of the chain not responding well to the load. But, it was absolutely clear that there was an obvious market for this kind of product. Perusing various documents, images, spreadsheets, audio / video
  • by xyzio ( 1470567 ) *
    Despite the fact that HP paid too much for Autonomy, the reasons for the acquisition are still valid. The increasing ability to store large amounts of data means that big data is big and there are many big players entering the fray. For example, Intel: []

    Many industries benefit from Big data mining. Netflix's new series 'House of Cards' was developed based on data Netflix collected about its users to determine what they liked and it has prove
    • by Anonymous Coward

      HP always blames someone else for their mistakes and poor judgement. What HP needs is a great big mirror.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      you needed big data to make a show about corruption in Congress? i'm almost 40 and people have hated Congress as long as I can remember. Along with any president in their second term, with the exception of Bill Clinton.

      cinema follows economic and social trends. the economic malaise of the 70's was filled by disaster movies. the baby boomers coming of age in the 80's brought us action movies and high school dramas

      • by xyzio ( 1470567 ) *
        The trick is not to make a show, but to make a good show. Quoting from the NY Times Netflix article:

        It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very go
    • On the other hand, when a company pays a large amount of money to acquire something, whoever supported the acquisition it is on the hook for proving that whatever they bought was worth the money. One way those people can delay the day of reckoning on a bad investment is to convince the higher-ups that if you just give it more time and money you can make it worth something.

    • by Shimbo ( 100005 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:17PM (#43350235)

      Of course lets not forget the dark side of big data, the NSA and FBI can use the vast volume of data they collect to create statistical profiles of the average American. Any American outside the average is obviously going to be a target for additional investigation.

      The Serious Fraud Office are themselves Autonomy customers, so at the moment they are scratching their heads wondering whether they can conduct the investigation ithout a conflct of interest.

  • I've been always an HP fan, so i'm sad to say this.

    Long history short, HP really need to focus on a market they can serve well. Let it be big data software or hardware, but they need to hurry since they already have lost a lot of revenue over the years and some big projects didn't go well (such as HP tablets). Sadly if this adquisition is so known to be a "fraud" there will be less demand for those Big Data tools or they will have to set lower prices.

    The sad thing is that HP is really sloppy at hardware rig

  • Incidentally... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:19PM (#43349647) Journal

    Isn't it a trifle interesting to see the language used to describe the (ostensible) owners of the company attempting to exert control over the people who are allegedly just hired to run it?

    "Shareholder revolt" in the LA Times, "Shareholder insurrection" in TFS, and this was reporting on a vote, taken by shareholders, on the board members(notably, unlike political elections, the incumbent remains in office unless at least half of voting stock votes against them, not by actually having to compete against other candidates for votes). Two of the directors barely survived, at 54 and 55 percent respectively.

    • That's all part of the corporate culture that treats shareholders, employees, fellow citizens, etc as "little people". The only people that actually matter in that world are upper management of major corporations, lobbyists, corrupted current / former politicians, and corrupted regulators, in approximately that order. This is George Carlin's "It's a big club, and you ain't in it." Journalists spend most of their time with people in the Big Club and depend on their relationships to people in the Big Club for

      • Well, the large shareholders are the ones who count. Upper management have to answer to them. Little shareholders don't matter much because individually they don't have much clout and aren't involved in decision making except for occasional proxy voting. It's only when they get together as part of a larger group (members of an investment fund) that they essentially get to veto the usual rubber stamp of approval.

        Ie, big owners of the company versus little owners of the company.

  • so they allege. this would mean they need a crook to resuscitate the numbers. watch out guys, your phones are tapped and they're reading your emails now. and it's not just the board this time...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm - recent acquisitions tied directly to Big Data/analytics stuff...check. Acquiring EDS...check. Putting less emphasis on hardware...check.

    Looks like HP is trying to become IBM!

    I hope it works for them, but I'm worried about losing one of the last providers of half-decent hardware. Forget about the raft of consumer garbage they manufacture or OEM for Best Buy -- their business line of PCs, notebooks and servers is still solid. [1] We use a mix of HP and IBM servers, and almost all HP PCs and laptops. The

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:02PM (#43350091)

    Having worked with Autonomy on multiple occasions, my chief complaint is that while their software may be incredibly capable in the math and statistics arenas, they can't do web development to save their souls. A virtually complete lack of comprehension of HTTP, SSL, and HTML is all you can expect from their engineers.

    It's more than the traditional "I don't want to customize my software even though I only have 20 potential clients so I will call it COTS" crap that we all hate so well. They cobble together so many layers of gunk that there is no way for them to understand what is actually happening between their servers and clients leaving them with no way to fix problems even if they wanted to.

  • Would be a simple matter of returning quality to their products.
    They can start with their driver software, that alone would raise my opinion of them.

    • My experiance of HP stuff is you get what you pay for. Maybe there decent stuff is slightly overpriced but it's certainley not bad.

      I have had a few friends and family members who have had nothing but pain with there HP laptops (all of them bought them because HP was a "known brand", all of them bought Pavillions and I hated (as the resident geek) every single one. On the other hand my experiance with using HP machines in the workplace has been nothing but good, the elite books seemed always just worked an

      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        I have also had some experiance with HP lab equipment (scopes/spectrum analizers/signal analizers) and love it, all of these where old though (1980s) but they where all better than the new stuff we had.

        That HP still exists in the form of Agilent. They still make fantastic measurement and lab gear. They have nothing to do with the computer side of HP anymore.

        • That HP still exists in the form of Agilent. They still make fantastic measurement and lab gear. They have nothing to do with the computer side of HP anymore.

          Thankyou for this infomation, I have never been in a position where I have had any say in equipment aquirment, and have never had the money to even think about buying the stuff. Saying that I will obviousley take a serous look at the Agilent equipment and if it is as solid, and as easy to use as the old HP stuff I used it will have to have a really good compeititor to stop me recomending them.

          The other stuff that I have used has either been Tektronics stuff or custom made equipment. The Tektronics stuff n

  • That's funny--I just got a call from my HP/Autonomy rep last week for the first time in years. In addition to many other failings, Autonomy hasn't done much to keep existing customers happy. Then a big how-are-you-doing, here's-what's-new presentation today, during which I had to mute the phone to hide my laughter at the brag slide about IDOL's amazing ability to extract meaning from unstructured data.

    I'd love for my key app to have a home under a big, deep-pocketed, stable corporate daddy, but HP is not it

  • I read that as "HP not giving up on Lobotomy".

  • They're still making printers and laptops too and I think we all know they have no business doing that either after their record the last 10 years with them.
  • You mean just like they were doubling down on WebOS []?

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