Giant HP Should Have the Winning Edge in 3PAR Bidding

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-08-29 Print this article Print


Unfortunately for Hitachi, the storage market is not the place for being old school. Storage technology is changing to the point that the whole market has become highly dynamic. Failure to change is simply failure. Hitachi simply doesn't cut the mustard, to put an old school description on it. 

And, of course, to make matters worse, Hitachi's products are very expensive when compared with other solutions with similar capabilities. HP, a company not known for either a failure to adapt or for being willing to be more expensive than necessary, probably would prefer not to be saddled with yesterday's technology or yesterday's business model. Plus, HP could really use 3PAR's Autonomic Tiering, which handles the problem of tiered storage more effectively than its competition. 

At this point, it's not clear how this will all shake out. 3PAR has signed a letter of agreement to sell itself to Dell, but that was before HP raised the stakes. While the board of directors could theoretically sell to Dell on that basis, it's a solid bet that they'd be hit with the mother of all shareholder lawsuits. Dell knows this, of course, and has raised its bid to equal HP's. So the next move is up to HP. 

The decisive factor is that HP has a nearly bottomless pit of cash, which is something that Dell doesn't have. If HP wants 3PAR badly enough, it can just keep raising the price until Dell folds. The biggest question is whether HP wants 3PAR badly enough to keep it out of Dell's hands. Perhaps it does, or perhaps it just wants to raise the price so high that Dell spends all of its cash on 3PAR and has nothing left for other acquisitions. 

While it's kind of fun to think of an old-fashioned Texas shoot-out in today's digital age, the reality is that both companies have stockholders who demand profits. HP, because of its size and cash-rich position, can probably get away with spending more, but that doesn't mean it necessarily will. Dell, on the other hand, is more constrained. But that company really needs 3PAR, and may be willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get it. 

We may not know how this shakes out for a while, since companies tend to take their time when the cost gets this high. But if I had to bet, I'd pick HP. Maybe Dell could sign on with Hitachi as a sort of consolation prize. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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