Former Autonomy Executive Found Culpable

May 1, 2018

I read “U.S. Jury Convicts Former Autonomy Executive of Fraud over HP Deal.” The jury found Sushovan Hussain guilty of wire fraud. Reuters said that in 2009 Mr. Hussain began to “deceive Autonomy’s investors and HP( about the company’s financial condition and prospects for growth.”

An ArnoldIT profile about Autonomy is available without charge at this link.

The HP purchase of Autonomy was one of the major turning points in enterprise search. The $11 billion deal made clear that enterprise search was an application space which would have provided rocket fuel for HP’s growth.

HP discovered that enterprise search was a challenging technology to use as a way to generates billions of dollars in revenue quickly and easily.

Beyond Search’s view of this deal—as well as the sale of Exalead to Dassault Systèmes, Vivisimo’s sale to IBM, and the manic repositioning of the vendors pitching proprietary search solutions—is that may companies found that enterprise search was a tough nut to crack. Marketing is easier than generating sustainable revenues. In my experience, enterprise search requires specialized expertise.

What’s interesting is that I heard that HP executives reviewed the Autonomy financial data, knew about the Qatalyst 2011 report about Autonomy, and decided to purchase the company. The deal seemed to unfold quickly and then implode almost as quickly. HP paid more for Autonomy than any other search acquisition of which I was aware. HP emerged as the proud owner of the firm which brought Bayesian methods to the enterprise. (I want to mention that the mathematical procedures implemented by Autonomy are now incorporated into most of the next generation information access systems I discussed in CyberOSINT, my book on what’s beyond search.


A page from the 2011 Qatalyst report about Autonomy. The full document, once available on the Oracle Web site, is now difficult to locate via open source methods.

This legal dust up may gather momentum. Possibly appeals and more people accused by HP making their way to the court room. I will stay tuned for developments reported by “real news” outfits like Thomson Reuters.

Stephen E Arnold, May 1, 2018


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