|Fate||Acquired by Hewlett-Packard|
|Founders||Michael Richard Lynch
|Headquarters||Cambridge, United Kingdom
San Francisco, United States
|Key people||Robert Youngjohns (SVP & General Manager)|
|Products||Big data analytics, information governance, data protection and digital marketing|
|Autonomy Corporation headquarters at Cambridge Business Park.|
Originally, the company specialised in analysis of large scale unstructured "big data", becoming the UK's largest and most successful software business by 2010. It used a combination of technologies born out of research at the University of Cambridge and developed a variety of enterprise search and knowledge management applications using adaptive pattern recognition techniques centered on Bayesian inference in conjunction with traditional methods. It maintained an aggressively entrepreneurial marketing approach, and controls described as a "rod of iron", which was said to include zero tolerance and firing the weakest 5% of its sales force each quarter, while cosetting the best sales staff "like rock stars".
Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in October 2011. The deal valued Autonomy at $11.7 billion (£7.4 billion) with a premium of around 79% over market price that was widely criticized as "absurdly high", a "botched strategy shift" and a "chaotic" attempt to rapidly reposition HP and enhance earnings by expanding the high-margin software services sector. Within a year, major culture clashes became apparent and HP had written off $8.8 billion of Autonomy's value. HP claim this resulted from "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" by the previous management, who in turn accuse HP of a "textbook example  of defensive stalling" :6 to conceal evidence of its own prior knowledge and gross mismanagement and undermining of the company, noting public awareness since 2009 of its financial reporting issues:3 and that even HP's CFO disagreed with the price paid.:3-6 External observers generally state that only a small part of the write-off appears to be due to accounting mis-statements, and that HP had overpaid for businesses previously.
HP recruited Robert Youngjohns, ex-Microsoft president of North America, to take over HP Autonomy in September 2012, and since that time, has worked towards a turnaround through expanding its information management and analytics software business. Though the company is integrating into HP Software, Autonomy remains a singular operational business.
Inception and expansion
Autonomy was founded in Cambridge, England by Dr. Michael Lynch, David Tabizel and Richard Gaunt in 1996 as a spin-off from Cambridge Neurodynamics, a firm specializing in computer-based finger print recognition.
July 2007: Autonomy acquired Zantaz, an email archiving and litigation support company, for $375 million.
28 May 2008: Kainos extended its partnership with Autonomy for high-end information processing and Information Risk Management (IRM) to deliver information governance solutions to its customer base.
5 May 2011: The Mercedes Formula One team announced an $8 million sponsorship deal with Autonomy, and on 8 July 2010 Tottenham Hotspur FC announced a two year sponsorship deal with Autonomy for their Premier League kit. For the 2011–12 season Spurs' Premier League shirt featured Autonomy's Augmented Reality technology Aurasma.
18 August 2011: Hewlett Packard announced that it would purchase Autonomy for US$42.11 per share. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both HP and Autonomy and the Autonomy board recommended that its shareholders accept the offer. On 3 October 2011 HP closed the deal, announcing that it had acquired around 87.3% of the shares for around $10.2 billion, and valuing the company at around $11.7 billion in total.
May 2012: Mike Lynch left his role as Autonomy CEO after a significant drop in revenue in the previous quarter.
September 2012: Robert Youngjohns was appointed SVP & GM of Autonomy/Information Management Business Unit.
November 2012: Hewlett-Packard announced that it was taking an $8.8 billion accounting charge after claiming “serious accounting improprieties” and “outright misrepresentations” at Autonomy; its share price fell to a decades' low on the news. However, Mike Lynch counter-alleged that the problems were due to HP's running of Autonomy, citing "internecine warfare" within the organization. The Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission joined the FBI in investigating the potential anomalies. Three lawsuits were brought by shareholders against HP, for the fall in value of HP shares. In August 2014 a United States district court judge threw out a proposed settlement, which Autonomy's previous management had argued would be collusive and intended to divert scrutiny of HP executives' own responsibility and knowledge, for a fee of up to $48 million. As of 2014 the dispute is still being litigated.
November 2013: the HP Exstream customer communication management (CCM) business, formerly part of the HP LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions (LES) business, joined the HP Autonomy organization.
30 January 2014: the company announced that one of its partners, Kainos, integrated HP IDOL 10.5, the new version of HP Autonomy’s information analytics engine, into Kainos's electronic medical record platform, Evolve.
Offerings and Solutions
HP Autonomy products include Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL), which allows for search and processing of text taken from both structured data and unstructured human information -- including e-mail and mobile data -- whether it originates in a database, audio, video, text files or streams. The processing of such information by IDOL is referred to by Autonomy as Meaning-Based Computing.
HP Autonomy's offerings include:
- Marketing Optimization
- Web Experience Management, Web Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Contact Center Management, Rich Media Management
- Information Analytics
- Voice of the Customer, Media Intelligence, Video Surveillance, Big Data Analytics, SFA Intelligence
- Unified Information Access
- Enterprise Search, Knowledge Management, Content Access & Extraction
- Information Archiving
- Compliance Archiving, Litigation Readiness Archiving, Storage Optimization Archiving, Database & Application Archiving, Supervision & Policy Management
- Legal Hold, Early Case Assessment, Review & Analytics, Investigations, Post-Review
- Enterprise Content Management
- Policy-driven Information Management, Records Management, Legal Content Management, Business Process Management, Document and Email Management
- Data Protection
- Server Data Protection, Virtual Server Data Protection, Remote & Branch Office Data Protection, Endpoint Device Data Protection
- Customer Communications Management
- Healthcare Communications, Transactional Communications, State, Local & Federal Communications, Utility & Smart Meter Communications, High Volume Communications
- Automated Information Capture
- Multichannel automated information capture:, Intelligent document recognition, Intelligent document classification, Remote capture, Validation
HAVEn Big Data Platform
In June 2013, HP announced the HAVEn platform for analyzing and finding meaning from big data - petabytes of structured and unstructured information. HAVEn also aims to identify information that is not needed and can be placed in low cost storage or even dumped.
Components of the platform include:
- Hadoop: All leading Hadoop distributions are supported by HP's open strategy
- Autonomy: HP IDOL allows seamless access to 100% of enterprise data - human- or machine-generated.
- Vertica: A scalable database platform that is custom-built for real-time analytics on large datasets.
- ArcSight: Provides real-time collection and analysis of logs and enterprise security events from an array of devices and data sources, leveraging Big Data to bridge operational intelligence and security intelligence.
- Operations Management: HP is the world’s leading software vendor for operations management.
In January 2014, HP released a new version of HP IDOL that strengthens integration with several key components of the HAVEn platform by expanding upon IDOL’s analytics, reliability and ease of use. CMSWire reported that the new release has "a lot under the hood here that will catapult IDOL firmly into the center of the big data fray."
The HP Autonomy business has primary offices in Cambridge, UK, and Sunnyvale, California, as well as other major offices in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Germany, and smaller offices in India and throughout Europe and Latin America.
Current HP Autonomy leadership:
- Robert Youngjohns, SVP & General Manager
- Rohit de Souza, GM Information Analytics & Search
- Rafiq Mohammadi, GM Marketing Optimization
- Mike Sullivan, GM eDiscovery & Information Archiving
- Neil Araujo, GM Enterprise Content Management
- David Jones, GM Data Protection
- Mike Salfity, GM Customer Communication Management
Many of Autonomy's senior executives left after the acquisition by Hewlett-Packard, "amid accusations that HP is too bureaucratic, and counterclaims that Lynch and his team failed to deliver on revenue targets". Months after Lynch's departure, Robert Youngjohns was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of HP Autonomy in September of 2012.
- Autonomy board backs £7bn Hewlett-Packard offer, The Telegraph, 19 August 2011
- Rage of the Titans: Whitman vs Lynch, The Telegraph, 25 November 2012
- HP closes Autonomy deal, Reuters, 2011-11-03: "Hewlett-Packard completed its $12 billion buy of British software firm Autonomy on Monday, the centerpiece of a botched strategy shift that cost ex-chief executive Leo Apotheker his job last month. HP said its 25.50 pounds-per-share cash offer -- representing a 79 percent premium that many HP shareholders found excessive -- had been accepted by investors."
- Why Hewlett-Packard's Impulse Buy Didn't Pay Off, Bloomberg BusinessWeek 29 November 2012: "Apotheker believed that HP’s platform was sinking...[and] appeared to be in a hurry to transform the company... In a rapid series of moves announced in August 2011, Apotheker killed HP’s six-week-old TouchPad tablet, explored plans for a spin-out of its PC business, and championed the $10.3 billion acquisition of  Autonomy. One former HP executive who worked there at the time says it appeared that Apotheker and the board didn’t know what to do, and were trying anything they could think of. It wasn’t a strategy, he says. It was chaos... Oracle CEO Larry Ellison called Autonomy’s asking price 'absurdly high'."
- Motion by Hussain, 2014-08-11 p.1-6
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- Security Group Seminar University of Cambridge
- The Kindness of Strangers VNU Net
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- HP in serious talks to resolve shareholders lawsuits | Business Sun
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- Guardian newspaper: Autonomy founder Mike Lynch to leave Hewlett-Packard, 24 May 2012
- HP Names Microsoft Exec Robert Youngjohns to Run Autonomy
- Company site
- "The Quest for Meaning" WIRED
- What Is Meaning-Based Computing?
- Michael Lynch On Meaning-Based Computing