HP stands by Autonomy’s software, not its finances

Don’t think you’ve heard the last of Autonomy – even though Hewlett-Packard has written off nearly $9 billion of the nearly $11 billion that it spent to buy the British software company last year.

HP chief Meg Whitman reaffirmed on Tuesday that she is still hoping to salvage what analysts have described as a complex, somewhat confusing but nevertheless valuable portfolio of software that Autonomy developed and acquired over the years, including its flagship software product, a search engine for unstructured data known as IDOL.

Meanwhile, former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has launched a blog to defend himself and other members of his former management team against HP’s allegations that the firm misrepresented sales and committed other accounting improprieties – which HP says it only discovered after buying Autonomy for the whopping price of 11 times Autonomy’s annual revenue, despite some red flags raised by several analysts who followed Autonomy.

HP released some new data-analysis products based on Autonomy technology at a big customer conference in Germany on Tuesday, where – according to Bloomberg news service – Whitman said: “We remain 100 percent committed to Autonomy’s industry-leading technology and its employees.”

Whitman also reportedly called Autonomy’s technology “incredible” and said it will be essential to HP’s future growth.

Lynch launched his website this week by posting an open letter to HP, originally made public last week, in which he denied any wrongdoing and challenged HP to back up its claims. The site also contains video of a CNBC interview with Lynch and other information – even a link to HP’s press release announcing the write-down.

Meanwhile, government authorities in the United States and Britain are said to be investigating HP’s allegations. So yeah, we’ll be hearing more on this one.




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