HP Autonomy

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HP Autonomy
IndustryInformation technology
FateMerged by Micro Focus
FoundedJune 1996; 24 years ago (1996-06) (as Autonomy Corporation PLC)
Cambridge, England, U.K.
FounderMichael Richard Lynch
David Tabizel
Richard Gaunt
HeadquartersCambridge, United Kingdom
San Francisco, United States
Area served
Key people
Robert Youngjohns (SVP & General Manager)
ProductsBig data analytics, information governance, data protection and digital marketing
ParentMicro Focus
Stereo image
Left frame 
Cambridge Business Park Autonomy RL.jpg
Autonomy Corporation headquarters at Cambridge Business Park.

HP Autonomy, previously Autonomy Corporation PLC, was an enterprise software company which was merged with Micro Focus in 2017. It was founded in Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1996.

Originally, Autonomy specialised in analysis of large scale unstructured "big data", becoming the UK's largest and most successful[1] 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 sales controls described as a "rod of iron" - allegedly firing the weakest 5% of its sales force each quarter whilst cosseting the best sales staff "like rock stars".[2]

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.[1][3][4] Within a year, HP had written off $8.8 billion of Autonomy's value, with major culture clashes being reported in the press.[2] HP claims this resulted from "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" by the previous management. A successful fraud case[5] was brought against the CFO Sushovan Hussain, with Hussain's appeal failing in Aug 2020.[6] Previous management in turn accused HP of a "textbook example of defensive stalling[7]: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[7]:3 and that even HP's CFO disagreed with the price paid.[2][7]: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.[2][8]

HP recruited Robert Youngjohns, ex-Microsoft president of North America,[9] to take over HP Autonomy in September 2012, who 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.[10]

In 2017, HP sold its Autonomy assets, as part of a wider deal, to the British software company Micro Focus.[11][12]

In Sep 2020, Deloitte, who audited Autonomy between 2009 and 2011, were fined £15m for its audit that contained “serious and serial failures”.[13]


Inception and expansion[edit]

Autonomy was founded in Cambridge, England by 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.[14][15]

Autonomy floated in 1998 on the NASDAQ exchange at a share price of approximately £0.30. At the height of the "dot-com bubble", the peak share price was £30.[16]

December 2005: Autonomy acquired Verity, Inc., one of its main competitors, for approximately US$500 million.[17] In 2005 Autonomy also acquired Neurodynamics.[18]

May 2007: After exercising an option to buy a stake in technology start up Blinkx Inc, and combining it with its consumer division, Autonomy floated Blinkx on a valuation of $250 million.[19]

July 2007: Autonomy acquired Zantaz, an email archiving and litigation support company, for $375 million.[20]

October 2007: Autonomy acquired Meridio Holdings Ltd, a UK company based in Northern Ireland that specialised in Records Management software, for £20 million.[21]

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.[22]

January 2009: Autonomy acquired Interwoven, a niche provider of enterprise content management software, for $775 million.[23] Interwoven became Autonomy Interwoven and Autonomy iManage.

In 2009 Paul Morland, a leading analyst, started raising concerns about Autonomy's exaggerated performance claims.[24]

June 2010: Autonomy announced that it was to acquire the Information Governance business of CA Technologies. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.[25]

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.[26] For the 2011–12 season Spurs' Premier League shirt featured Autonomy's Augmented Reality technology Aurasma.[27]

16 May 2011: Autonomy acquired Iron Mountain Digital, a pioneer in E-discovery and online backup solutions provider, for $380 million from Iron Mountain Incorporated.[28]

Hewlett Packard[edit]

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.[29] 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.[30]

May 2012: Mike Lynch left his role as Autonomy CEO after a significant drop in revenue in the previous quarter.[31]

September 2012: Robert Youngjohns was appointed SVP & GM of Autonomy/Information Management Business Unit.[10]

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;[32][33] its share price fell to a decades' low on the news.[34] However, Mike Lynch counter-alleged that the problems were due to HP's running of Autonomy,[35] citing "internecine warfare" within the organization.[36] The Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission joined the FBI in investigating the potential anomalies. However, in January 2015 the SFO closed its investigation as the chance of successful prosecution was low.[37][38][39] 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.[40][41] In April 2018 Autonomy's ex-CFO Sushovan Hussain was charged in the US and found guilty in of accounting fraud, and is currently on bail after his appeal raised a "substantial question over his conviction."[42] From his evidence Lynch was charged with fraud in November.[43] Lynch will contest extradition having said that he "vigorously rejects all the allegations against him."[44]

Model of 2010 Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team car at the Cambridge Business Park Autonomy building lobby.

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.[45]

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.[46]

31 October 2015: Autonomy's software products are divided between HP Inc (HPQ) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as a result of the Hewlett-Packard Co separation. HP Inc is assigned ownership largely consisting of Autonomy's content management software components including TeamSite, Qfiniti, Qfiniti Managed Services, MediaBin, Optimost, and Explore. Hewlett Packard Enterprise retains ownership of the remaining software.[47]

2 May 2016: OpenText acquires HP TeamSite, HP MediaBin, HP Qfiniti, HP Explore, HP Aurasma, and HP Optimost from HP Inc for $170 million.[48]

On 1 September 2017, it was merged with Micro Focus.[12]

Products and services[edit]

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.[49] The processing of such information by IDOL is referred to by Autonomy as Meaning-Based Computing.[50]

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[51]
Automated Information Capture
Multichannel automated information capture:, Intelligent document recognition, Intelligent document classification, Remote capture, Validation[52]
Haven OnDemand

The API platform for building data rich applications.[53] Haven OnDemanduk features a wide range of APIs for indexing and performing analytics on a range of information from plain text and office documents through to audio and video.

Haven Search OnDemand

A ease to use and quick to deploy Enterprise Search solution built onto of the Haven OnDemand API Platform.[54]


The Autonomy business has primary offices in Cambridge and Sunnyvale, California, as well as other major offices in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Germany, and smaller offices in India and throughout Europe and Latin America.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Autonomy board backs £7bn Hewlett-Packard offer, The Telegraph, 19 August 2011
  2. ^ a b c d Rage of the Titans: Whitman vs Lynch, The Telegraph, 25 November 2012
  3. ^ 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."
  4. ^ 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'."
  5. ^ "Autonomy ex-finance boss sentenced to jail". 13 May 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  6. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (26 August 2020). "Ex-Autonomy CFO's conviction for Hewlett-Packard fraud is upheld by U.S. appeals court". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Motion by Hussain, 2014-08-11 p.1-6
  8. ^ The mysterious case of Hewlett-Packard’s Autonomy deal, Marketwatch, 19 August 2014
  9. ^ "HP® Official Site - Laptop Computers, Desktops, Printers and more". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b "HP Names Microsoft Exec Robert Youngjohns to Run Autonomy". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Micro Focus - from takeover target to FTSE 100 newcomer - BBC News". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Micro Focus Completes Merger with HPE Software Business, Creating One of World's Largest Pure-play Software Companies". Micro Focus International plc. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  13. ^ Jones, Huw (17 September 2020). "Deloitte hit with record £15 million fine for Autonomy audit". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  14. ^ Security Group Seminar Archived 2 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine University of Cambridge
  15. ^ The Kindness of Strangers Archived 28 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine VNU Net
  16. ^ Loney, Matt (13 November 2008). ""What that £10k is worth now", 31st Dec 2001, zdnet.co.uk". News.zdnet.co.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  17. ^ ""Autonomy buys Verity", Information World Review". Iwr.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 November 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
  18. ^ "Autonomy's Board of Directors". Autonomy.
  19. ^ Cashmore, Pete (22 May 2007). "Blinkx IPO goes ahead". Mashable.com. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  20. ^ "Autonomy buys Zantaz". Law.com. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  21. ^ "Data Backup and Information Governance Software Solutions - Hewlett Packard Enterprise". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Kainos Embraces Additional Autonomy Group Technology". Kainos Software Limited. 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  23. ^ Davey, James (22 January 2009). "Autonomy to buy Interwoven for $775 mln". Reuters. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  24. ^ Garside, Juliette (22 November 2012). "UBS and Goldman Sachs had access to negative Autonomy research". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  25. ^ Autonomy to Acquire CA's Information Governance Business Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine News article from InfoGrok
  26. ^ "Mercedes GP Petronas announce Autonomy sponsorship deal". Mercedes Benz. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  27. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur shirts to feature Autonomy's Aurasma". Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
  28. ^ Autonomy buys Iron Mountain's digital archiving outfit Guardian, 16 May 2011
  29. ^ HP to acquire Autonomy HP Newsroom, 18 August 2011
  30. ^ "Hewlett-Packard completes Autonomy buyout". BBC News. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  31. ^ HP Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch replaced Slashgear, 23 May 2012
  32. ^ H.P. Takes Big Hit on ‘Accounting Improprieties’ at Autonomy NY Times, 20 November 2012
  33. ^ "BBC News - Autonomy misled HP about finances, Hewlett Packard says". BBC Online. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. Computer maker Hewlett Packard has asked US and UK authorities to investigate alleged misrepresentations of Autonomy's finances before HP took over the UK software group last year.
  34. ^ Rogers, James (24 November 2012), "HP's Autonomy Hassles", thestreet.com, United States: TheStreet, Tech, retrieved 22 January 2013
  35. ^ Mike Lynch defends Autonomy accounting methods The Telegraph, 21 November 2012
  36. ^ Autonomy’s Ex-Chief: H.P.’s Claims ‘Completely and Utterly Wrong’ Dealbook, 21 November 2012
  37. ^ Autonomy misled HP about finances, Hewlett Packard says, United Kingdom: BBC News, 21 November 2012, bbc.co.uk, retrieved 22 January 2013
  38. ^ Owens, Jeremy C. (23 November 2012), "Investors go Black Friday shopping too, sending HP and other struggling tech stocks higher", San Jose Mercury News, mercurynews.com, retrieved 22 January 2013
  39. ^ "Autonomy HP sale investigation by Serious Fraud Office closes". BBC News. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  40. ^ "U.S. judge casts doubt on HP-shareholder settlement in Autonomy lawsuit". 25 August 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2016 – via Reuters.
  41. ^ "Today's Stock Market News and Analysis from Nasdaq.com". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  42. ^ "Former Autonomy CFO granted bail pending US fraud appeal". The Telegraph.
  43. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46397367
  44. ^ "Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch Arrested in US Extradition Fight". Bloomberg.
  45. ^ "HP Exstream & Autonomy". HP.
  46. ^ "Kainos Harnesses HP IDOL for Next-generation Healthcare Analytics". HP Autonomy. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  47. ^ "Exstream, TeleForm, LiquidOffice, TeamSite, Qfiniti, Optimost, and MediaBin are now part of OpenText". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  48. ^ "News and Press Releases (PR) - OpenText". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  49. ^ "HP's Autonomy Debuts End-to-End eDiscovery Solution, Appliance". Infostor.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  50. ^ "What is meaning-based computing". Computing.co.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  51. ^ "AU/: Stock Quote - Autonomy Corp Ltd". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  52. ^ HP Teleform - HP Autonomy, retrieved 1 August 2014
  53. ^ Haven OnDemand, retrieved 1 December 2015
  54. ^ Haven Search OnDemand, retrieved 11 February 2016

External links[edit]