Autonomy CFO: Sentenced

May 14, 2019

I read ”Autonomy’s Former CFO Sushovan Hussain Sentenced to Five Years in Jail.” The article reported that Sushovan Hussain will be incarcerated for 60 months and then “subject to “a further three years ‘supervised release’.” In addition to the sentence, Mr. Hussain has been fined $4 million and another $6.1 million described as a “forfeiture payment.” This $6.1 is the money Mr. Hussain allegedly received as a result of the sale of Autonomy to Hewlett Packard. HP bought Autonomy for about $11 billion in 2011. (HP news release is here.)

The write up states:

In summing up, Breyer stated that Hussain had been involved in a “methodological long-term pattern” of making false statements and added that Hussain believed that in a high-growth business, such as Autonomy, future growth would effectively cover-up any false statements. Breyer also argued that Hussain had used his position to corrupt “a number of innocent people”, chivvying them into becoming a part of the fraud.

If you are unfamiliar with the technical details and some of Autonomy’s background, you will find a profile I wrote years ago in the Xenky archive. This is a version of my final report, and it has not been updated, but it provides some context for the interest Autonomy generated in its search, retrieval, and content processing systems.

The Register, a UK publication, provides periodic updates about the trial currently underway in England. You can locate these reports at Use the search function to locate the stories.

Some History of Enterprise Search

This sentence and fine was more aggressive than the judgment against the former Fast Search & Transfer founder, John Lervik, who after a series of legal processes, was cleared of wrong doing in 2016. Microsoft purchased Fast Search & Transfer in 2008.

Autonomy and Fast Search were the two vendors of enterprise search which were the most widely licensed information access systems in the period 2005 to 2010 when appetite for proprietary search began to decline. The acquisition of Vivisimo by IBM and the purchase of Exalead by Dassault did not lead to litigation. Other search vendors sold out or simply tried to reinvent themselves in a somewhat challenging search for revenues.  Today, the most widely used enterprise search system is Elasticsearch, which is available as open source software. Endeca has been absorbed into Oracle. Delphis and Entopia went out of business. OpenText rolled up a number of search companies, which are now largely forgotten; for example, Fulcrum and BRS. There are a number of interesting case studies waiting to be written; for example, the trajectory of Convera from “inventor” to consulting business, the fate of Verity and IBM’s Stairs as well as other companies helping to expand search’s version of the tulip craze centuries ago.

Stephen E Arnold, May 14, 2019


One Response to “Autonomy CFO: Sentenced”

  1. Dan Speck on May 17th, 2019 9:12 am

    I think you meant “Ontopia” instead of “Entopia”, right?

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