In August, HP announced it would spend $10 billion to acquire Autonomy, Britain's largest software company -- a leader in enterprise search, compliance, and cloud archiving with an impressive list of Fortune 50 customers. A classic Silicon Valley soap opera ensued, starring none other than Larry Ellison, who in a September earnings call accused Autonomy founder and CEO Mike Lynch of shopping Autonomy to Oracle prior to agreeing to the acquisition by HP. Lynch has denied the charge.
Either way, the bottom line is that HP's new CEO Meg Whitman has confirmed the acquisition will go through -- and last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the deal will close as early as today. So what can we expect from the union of HP and Autonomy?
[ InfoWorld published the first in-depth interview with HP's previous CEO, Léo Apotheker. | Is HP's acquisition of Autonomy a wise move? ]
In my interview with Lynch, we covered a range of solutions that will likely flow from Autonomy, which he says will remain a "fairly independent" independent business division of HP. Here's a quick summary of what Autonomy brings to the party:
A very big public cloud. According to Lynch, Autonomy has a huge hosted e-discovery and archiving service: "A lot of commentators have missed that Autonomy's cloud business is now very large. It's now about 30 petabytes. And that's heterogeneous data -- it's desktops, it's messages -- so what you've got is a great resource if you've got questions about what's going on in a company.
Visual recognition. Last spring, Autonomy debuted its Aurasma software for smartphones, which -- using a smartphone's camera -- recognizes images and objects in the real world and enables you to "interact" with them. Lynch explained how that could extend to HP's printing business. "We've got cloud-based document management, which comes as part of the printer. The Aurasma technology will be linked to the printer, so basically, whenever you print something, that image can then be recognized and linked to its virtual version. And whenever you print something out, that print version can become interactive -- you just hold a smartphone up to it."