HP and Autonomy: The Long Tail of Search and Retrieval

April 8, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The US justice system is flawed but when big money is at stake, it quickly works as it’s supposed to do. British tech entrepreneur is responsible for making the tech industry lose a lot of greenbacks and the BBC shares the details: “Mike Lynch: Autonomy Founder’s Fraud Trial Begins In The US.” Lynch, formerly called Britain’s equivalent of Bill Gates, was extradited to the US in 2023 after a British court found him guilty of a civil fraud cause. He is accused of over inflating the value of his former company Autonomy. Autonomy was sold to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011 for $11 billion.

Lynch is facing sixteen charges and a possible twenty-five years in prison if convicted. Reid Weingarten, Lynch’s attorney, stated his client is prepared to take the stand. He also said that Lynch focused on Autonomy’s technology side and left the finances to others. After buying Autonomy, HP valued it at $2.2 billion and claimed Lynch duped them.

Lynch founded Autonomy in 1996 and it became a top 100 public companies in the United Kingdom. Autonomy was known for software that extracted information from unstructured content: video, emails, and phone calls.

HP is not mincing claims in this case:

“US prosecutors in San Francisco say Mr Lynch backdated agreements to mislead about the company’s sales; concealed the firm’s loss-making business reselling hardware; and intimidated or paid off people who raised concerns, among other claims. In court filings, his attorneys have argued that the "real reason for the write-down" was a failure by HP to manage the merger. ‘Then, with its stock price crumbling under the weight of its own mismanagement, circled the wagons to protect its new leaders and wantonly accused’ Mr Lynch of fraud, they wrote.”

London’s High Court convicted Lynch and Autonomy’s former CFO Sushovan Hussain of fraud. Hussain was imprisoned for five years and fined millions of dollars. The pair claimed HP’s case against them was buyer’s remorse and management failings.

Lynch should be held accountable for false claims, pay the fines, and be jailed if declared guilty. If the court does convict him, it will be time for more legal gymnastics.

Whitney Grace, April 8, 2024


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