Winner: Autonomy and Shareholders

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Winner: Autonomy and Shareholders

The UK-based company had been seeking a suitable buyer for several months, we're told, and came up with the best one an eligible IT company could get. The principals and stockholders are over the moon about the $11 billion sale. The stock was selling for $2,490 per share on Aug. 23—up from $1,500 on Aug. 19. Talk about a jump.

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Losers: webOS Division

A mere 15 months after HP bought Palm, its operating system and hardware-making operation for $1.2 billion and only six months after a lavish San Francisco launch event Feb. 9 in which Leo Apotheker promised that HP would "double-down" on spreading the webOS to every personal computer in its lineup, the division was summarily axed with no potential buyer in sight. What happens next is anybody's guess.

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Winner: HPs Enterprise Software Management Division

When the Autonomy acquisition is finalized, these folks will have a lot of new tools at their disposal, including a world-class e-discovery suite of applications, second-generation data management products, an established content management system (originally from Interwoven), new cloud management software options and a list of others.

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Loser: Personal Systems Group

HP had worked long and hard over many years to produce top-flight desktop and laptop personal computers and had, for years been the world's No. 1 seller of these products. Now the Houston-and-Palo Alto-based PSG operation is toast until the company finds a buyer—make that if the company finds a buyer. Contrast this move with IBMs decision seven years ago to spin off its PC business. It combined its PC production operation with Chinas Lenovo Group.

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Winner: HPs Vertica Division

HP's real-time parallel processing engine now can hook up with Autonomy for a hyper-powered analytics system to become a key processor for big data-scale workloads. This will be HP's competitor to Apache Hadoop and EMC's Greenplum.

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Loser: Leo Apotheker

This is because all this upheaval happened on his watch as the relatively new CEO. He certainly was not the cause of the problems leading up to this, but he's making the big bucks and has to take all the heat as part of that role.

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Winner: HPs Storage Division, Especially 3PAR

These folks will have a job to do to integrate all the new Autonomy IP into their offerings, namely e-discovery, archiving, cloud backup and several other functions. But it will keep everybody gainfully employed for a long while.

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Losers: Todd Bradley, Jon Rubenstein and the HP Press Relations Office

Bradley, executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group, didn't get the memo from Apotheker about his division being dropped until the last minute. Rubenstein ran the webOS division until he was let go on July 11, which should have been a big red flag for everybody. We have to add the HP press office in there, too, because they have to explain and defend all that has happened.

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Winner: HPs Worldwide Sales

Autonomy brings an impressive number of major international enterprise customers. Yes, HP probably already counts most, if not all of those companies as its customers, but Autonomy represents a lot of potential new business in the IT sector in which HP wants to play long term: cloud computing infrastructure, enterprise data management, data center management, and storage software and services.

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Losers: HPs Shareholders and Board of Directors

At least for the time being, HP's stock has taken a major hit. On Aug. 19, the day after the news items were announced, the common stock dropped a full 20 percent to under $24. There was more than a modicum of doubt when Apotheker was hired to replace Mark Hurd a year ago following his lackluster tenure as SAP's CEO. One can bet there's even more questions about Apothekers long-term prospects for remaining at HPs helm. His decisions and initiatives have to pay off big time for HP.

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