Bloomberg is reporting that HP plans to announce a $10 billion deal to buy Autonomy, a U.K. based software company that has bought up a variety of assets over the years to create an unstructured data storage and analyzing powerhouse. The same story proposes that HP will also spin-out its PC business, but it’s HP’s big bet on software that’s more intriguing. Update: Autonomy has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it is in talks with HP.
Autonomy has a history in big enterprises, its software mimics the kind of natural language intelligence that people posses and applies that to structured and unstructured text data found in emails, voicemails, videos and other places. It also adds context beyond keywords to search, and applied that fundamental technology to a variety of products. This year it also bought the digital storage assets of Iron Mountain when the document storing business decided the online storage market wasn’t for it. Together with other products and acquisitions, Autonomy now has the ability to offer relevant information, insights and even patterns to natural language searches. This obviously helps open up access to documents across an enterprise, but can also be used to target advertising or even provide better customer service.
As people generate and filter through terabytes of data on an annual basis trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, making that wheat readily available becomes more important. Other companies were rumored to be interested in Autonomy, but HP has needed to boost its big data story as EMC, IBM and other rivals snap up startups capable of analyzing, warehousing and deriving value from big data. In February, HP kicked off its efforts, paying an undisclosed amount for Vertica, a data warehousing and analytics company. Autonomy would give HP a way to add structure to unstructured content to its columnar database product, as well as a robust base of customers that can help teach HP about their expectations and demands for their data.
When talks of a deal between HP and TIBCO broke down in April, we reported that losing out on Spotfire, a data analytics product inside TIBCO would be a blow to HP’s emerging data platform. However, with Autonomy, it appears HP would get some of the leftover elements in what we have called the big data bundle.