HP CEO Whitman: Autonomy Still in Our Future
Despite HP's problems since buying the software company in 2011, Autonomy is still important in HP's big data efforts, CEO Meg Whitman says.Hewlett-Packard's $11.3 billion acquisition of software maker Autonomy may have become an expensive headache for the tech giant, but CEO Meg Whitman reportedly sees it as an important part of the company's future. At a news conference in London April 10, Whitman said that she is continuing with her plans to keep the massive company together and does not plan to shut down or sell off any of its businesses, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. "We remain committed to Autonomy; we remain committed to the brand, to Cambridge, to the U.K. [where Autonomy is based]," she said, according to the news organization. "It is an almost magical technology. … It plays into a big shift in the market, the area of big data, which HP should be in." HP began negotiating the Autonomy deal in 2010 under then-CEO Mark Hurd, and Hurd's successor, Leo Apotheker, later pushed the acquisition as part of his efforts to build up the company's enterprise software capabilities. Autonomy's software enables businesses to search and retrieve information in databases and other repositories across computer networks. Whitman was on the board of directors at the time the board approved the acquisition, which closed in 2011.
A year later, HP announced an $8.8 billion charge in connection with the acquisition due to allegations that Autonomy officials fraudulently overstated the software maker's value in the runup to HP's buying it. When HP officials announced the charge last year, they said $5.5 billion of that was due to "serious accounting improprieties" at Autonomy.