February 24, 2015
The OpenText- Actuate deal has gone through, we learn from OpenText’s press release, “OpenText Buys Actuate Corporation.” It seems they were not much hindered by that legal snag the arrangement encountered at the end of last year. The press release reports:
“Complementing OpenText’s existing information management and B2B integration offerings, Actuate offers increased business process efficiencies, greater brand experience and personalized insight for better and faster decisions via analytics and visualization. OpenText customers will now benefit from added analytic capabilities to their existing deployments and a new breed of analytics that provide insight across entire business flows.”
“Actuate will continue to serve the embedded analytics market, the developer, and will be deeply integrated into OpenText Products and OpenText, enabling OpenText to deliver analytics for the entire EIM suite based on a common platform…. Designed to be embeddable, developers can use the platform to enrich nearly any application, whether it is deployed on premises or in the cloud.”
Founded in 1991 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, OpenText supplies its clients with enterprise content management, business process management, and customer experience management tools. Actuate is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and was launched in 1993. The company founded and co-lead the Eclipse BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) open source project.
Cynthia Murrell, February 24, 2015
February 20, 2015
DataStax has purchased open-source graph-database company, Aurelius, we learn in “DataStax Grabs Aurelius in Graph Database Acqui-Hire” at TechCrunch. Aurelius’ eight engineers will reportedly be working at DataStax, delving right into a scalable graph component for the company’s Cassandra-based Enterprise database. This acquisition, DataStax declares, makes theirs the only database platform with graph, analytics, search, and in-memory in one package. Writer Ron Miller tells us:
“DataStax is the commercial face of the open source Apache Cassandra database. Aurelius was the commercial face of the Titan graph database.
“Matt Pfeil, co-founder and chief customer officer at DataStax, says customers have been asking about graph database functionality for some time. Up until now customers have been forced to build their own on top of the DataStax offering.
“‘This was something that was on our radar. As we started to ramp up, it made sense from corporate [standpoint] to buy it instead of build it.’ He added that getting the graph-database engineering expertise was a bonus. ‘There’s not a ton of graph database experts [out there],’ he said.
“This expertise is especially important as two of the five major DataStax key use cases — fraud detection and recommendation engines — involve a graph database.”
Though details of the deal have not been released, see the write-up for some words on the fit between these two companies. Founded on an open-source model, Aurelius was doing just fine in its own. Co-founder Matthias Bröcheler is excited, though, about what his team can do at DataStax. Bröcheler did note that the graph database’s open-source version, Titan, will live on. Aurelius is located in Oakland, California, and was just launched in 2014.
Headquartered in San Mateo, California, DataStax was founded in 2010. Their Cassandra-based software implementations are flexible and scalable. Clients range from young startups to Fortune 100 companies, including such notables as eBay, Netflix and HealthCare Anytime.
Cynthia Murrell, February 20, 2015
February 5, 2015
The article titled Revolution Analytics Joins Microsoft on the Revolution blog makes a case for an open-source company partnering up with Microsoft. Revolution Analytics is the software provider for R, the leading programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics. Between Microsoft supporting Hadoop and working with Linux as well as making REEF open-source and .NET Core, they are no strangers to open-source. The article goes on with more examples,
“Microsoft has been an active participant in many other open source projects, too. There are over 1,600 OSS projects from Microsoft on CodePlex and GitHub. Microsoft engineers have actively contributed to the Linux kernel for years, and the company has contributed to open source community projects including Chef, Puppet, Docker, MongoDB, Redis and OpenJDK. Microsoft blogs regularly provide information and resources for open-source tools, including Chef, Puppet and Docker.”
Before the acquisition, Microsoft was already working with Revolution Analytics, for example in the creation of Xbox online gaming service’s match-making capabilities. The article promises the Revolution Analytic users that there will be no interruption or changes in services. It also assumes that with the acquisition the number of users will be increased and Revolution Analytics will be able to invest more time and energy into ongoing work such as the R Project and Revolution R products.
Chelsea Kerwin, February 05, 2014
December 24, 2014
An item on PR Newswire titled Lifshitz & Miller Law Firm Announces Investigation of Actuate Corporation, Albany Molecular Research Inc., Conn’s, Inc., Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., and Heritage Financial Group, Inc. offers a brief headline into the legal matter that OpenText finds itself embroiled in. Actuate Corporation is under investigation for possibly failing to seek the best possible value for Actuate’s shareholders before entering an agreement with Opentext. The article states,
“Lifshitz & Miller announces investigation into possible breaches of fiduciary duties in connection with the proposed sale of Actuate Corporation (“BIRT”) to OpenText Corporation in a cash transaction valued at approximately $ $330 million or $6.60 per share. For more information about our investigation, please contact Joshua M. Lifshitz, Esq. by telephone at (516) 493-9780 or by sending an e-mail including your contact information to: email@example.com.”
According to and article on Yahoo Finance titled Investor Alert: Investigation on Behalf of Actuate Corporation Shareholders Announced by Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP the mis-management claims facing Actuate’s board stem from the plummet in stock prices. In January 2014 the stock traded at $8.01, but since then have declined around 56%. The merger with OpenText Corporation valued the shares at $6.60.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 24, 2014
December 3, 2014
I watched Dr. Mike Lynch on CNBC explain, quite patiently, that Hewlett Packard struggles with accounting procedures. He pointed out that HP created a document that explains how a rebasing exercise created the magical billions written off the $11 billion purchase price of Autonomy.
The story gets some legs in “Document Raises Questions on HP’s $8.8bn Write Down of Autonomy.” Note that this a Financial Times’s document and you may have to pay to view it, assuming it is still online when you read this blog post. The link I am providing plunked me in the middle of a wonky “slide show” with the article stuck on the lower edge of the PowerPoint.
The write up reports that Mike Lynch was fired and a team of HP professionals started work on a rebasing exercise. My thought is that if one is going to spend $11 billion, one might want to do one’s homework BEFORE turning over the cash and buying the company.
Dr. Lynch is quoted by the FT as saying:
“The document was completed a month after HP made those allegations and any future valuation of the company would have had to include them. HP’s own court filings repeatedly assert the rebasing analysis includes the effects of the allegations,” he said.
In terms of time, HP purchased Autonomy in October 2011. Autonomy had discussed selling with other companies. Autonomy tapped the expertise of Frank Quattrone and his colleagues at Qatalyst Partners. Oracle posted some information about the Quattrone pitch deck in September 2011. You may be able to snag a copy at http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/features/please-buy-autonomy-503330.html.
Autonomy is unique among vendors of enterprise search systems. It was the first company to generate revenues from enterprise search in excess of $600 million. At one time there were more than 60 vendors competing directly with Autonomy. Some like Convera and Siderean Software ran into financial difficulty. Others like Fulcrum Technologies, iPhrase, Exalead, ISYS Search Software, and Vivisimo among others were able to find buyers before the market contracted more. Most vendors of enterprise search either scrambled to reposition themselves or develop technologies that positioned the companies to provide something other than search which was by 2008 accelerating on a path to becoming a low value utility.
HP, as I recall, performed due diligence. After doing the MBA and CPA thing, the company paid $11 billion for a company that after 15 years of invention, innovation, great marketing, and savvy acquisitions was at full sail. At the time of the deal, proprietary search was under assault from open source options that were simply “good enough.” HP bought at a time when valuations of search companies was not just softening, valuations were downright mushy.
HP, I assume, is smarter and more informed than I. HP bought Autonomy, and HP quickly demonstrated its buyer’s remorse. The groaning and moaning about Autonomy not being worth $11 billion is becoming a bit tiresome.
I envy Dr. Lynch for his ability to maintain his poise and temper. I am not sure I would have advised HP to purchase Autonomy. I know what happened to AltaVista, which HP converted into jet fuel for Google. I know that the company has been plagued by management upheavals and products that seem to have wandered from the HP way. Ink is profitable, but it is not a refined scientific instrument. Now HP’s senior manager is garnering some attention due to Pando.com’s write up “Documents Show How eBay’s Meg Whitman and Pierre Omidyar Conspired to Steal Craigslist’s Secrets.” If true, I wonder how reliable HP is today when it comes to presenting facts in a fair and accurate manner.
Exalead commanded a sale price of about $200 million. Oracle paid about $1 billion for Endeca. Microsoft paid $1.2 billion for Fast Search & Transfer. Vivisimo went for a modest $20 million. Now along comes HP dragging the history of its mishandling of AltaVista.com and ponies up $11 billion. I found that number pretty darned amazing, and I have done work with some pretty crazy investment bankers over the years. HP paid the equivalent of the purchase price of nine Fast Search & Transfers, a company that landed in hot water for its financial methods. HP paid the equivalent of buying more than 50 Vivisimos. Consider $20 million or $1.2 billion versus $11 billion. Yowza. What the heck were the consultants advising HP using as a valuation scorecard?
My view is that HP wants its money back. I remember when I bought a 1955 Oldsmobile from a used car dealer on the bad side of Peoria, Illinois. I asked, “Does the car come with a warranty?”
The dealer looked at me and said, “See that sidewalk? When you drive the car off the lot and hit the sidewalk, you get a sidewalk guarantee.”
I had no idea what a sidewalk guarantee was. I asked, “What’s a sidewalk guarantee?”
The dealer replied, “When you cross that sidewalk, you are responsible for any problems with the car.”
HP is now struggling to understand “sidewalk guarantee.”
Stephen E Arnold, December 3, 2014
November 13, 2014
SharePoint support and add-ons are big business, and there is news this week of a major shakeup in the market. Permira Funds just announced their purchase of Metalogix. Read more in the CMS Wire article, “SharePoint Shakeup: Private Investor Acquires Metalogix.”
The article says:
“Metalogix spent the latter half of 2013 buying out some SharePoint technology to boost its content infrastructure software suite. Permira Funds is spending time a year later buying Metalogix. The Menlo Park, Calif. international private equity firm announced today it acquired Metalogix, known for its suite of Microsoft management platforms that include SharePoint, Exchange and Office 365 . . . Metalogix, based in Washington, DC, fattened its SharePoint suite last year, making it an attractive acquisition target.”
The news may affect some customers more than others, in terms of day-to-day operations, but many are waiting to see how the move affects the overall market. Keep an eye on enterprise specific resources like ArnoldIT.com from Stephen E. Arnold, a longtime leader in search. His SharePoint feed is a great way to stay in tune with the latest news, tips, and tricks.
Emily Rae Aldridge, November 13, 2014
November 10, 2014
Catching up on old news: Just wanted to document that Cognos is no longer part of IBM. “Unicom Global Acquires Cognos Finance Business Analytics Software from IBM Corp.” The write up does not make clear exactly what Unicom acquired nor how much money IBM received in the deal. Presumably Unicom paid cash. Presumably IBM did not pay Unicom to take the Cognos bundle off its hands. For IBM analytics’ fans, you don’t need to worry. IBM owns SPSS and the dozens of systems and methods developed at its various research labs. Anyone remember Web Fountain?
Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2014
October 23, 2014
The article titled Microsoft to Buy Israel Text-Analysis Vendor Equivio: Report on ZDNet covers the potential purchase reported recently by the Wall Street Journal. According to the article, Equivio’s main draw for Microsoft is the product Zoom, a legal tool for document organization. The article states,
“Equivio has been working with Microsoft technologies, including Windows XP, SQL Server and SharePoint Server, since 2006, if not earlier. The company develops text-analytics products for legal and compliance e-discovery tasks. Its main product is Zoom “a court-approved machine learning platform for the legal area”. Zoom organizes collections of documents in meaningful ways, while quantifying and visualizing the decision space. So you can zoom out for the big picture. Or zoom in to find just what you need.”
The price of the purchase is reported at $200 million dollars. This may sound steep, but makes sense when some of the users of Zoom include The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Microsoft has been in the habit of buying up text-processing technology, and has overseas cash to spend on companies outside of the U.S. (only a month ago Microsoft spent 2.5 billion on Mojang, the Stockholm-based Minecraft creator.) Microsoft had no comment on the deal, but the Wall Street Journal has been right before.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 23, 2014
September 10, 2014
The article on TechCrunch titled Google Buys Jetpac To Give Context To Visual Searches describes the latest app acquired by Google. Jetpac is an app used to guide tourists and city-dwellers around the hottest bars and most relevant hang-outs for a particular user. Using Instagram data, Jetpac helps its users determine what a coffee shop actually looks like and what the atmosphere is like based on the visual cues from Instagram. The article states,
“Jetpac’s system looks for visual cues like the amount of pictures with mustaches in them to determine the fashion style or how many hipsters are in a certain location. This provides unique contextual information about an area where the photo was taken. It can tell you whether a coffee shop is actually chill like the reviews say or help you find bars women in their 30’s love, for instance. This goes beyond just a Yelp or Google Maps review…”
Clearly, Google is still chasing satisfactory visual search. The CEO of Jetpac is “computer vision expert” Pete Warden. His work in producing real-time local object recognition for his app may help to improve Google Goggles as well. While information about the acquisition has not yet been released by Google, we do know that Jetpac will no longer be available in the App store in the coming days.
Chelsea Kerwin, September 10, 2014
September 5, 2014
The Galaxy Consulting Blog shares information on all things information. Recently, they spelled out details on one of IBM’s smarter acquisitions in the profile, “Search Applications – Vivisimo.” In our opinion, that outfit is one of the more solid search providers. The write-up begins with a brief rundown of the company’s history, including its purchase by IBM in 2012. We learn:
“Vivisimo Velocity Platform is now IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer. It stays true to its heritage of providing federated navigation, discovery and search over a broad range of enterprise content. It covers broad range of data sources and types, both inside and outside an organization.
“In addition to the core indexing, discovery, navigation and search engine the software includes a framework for developing information-rich applications that deliver a comprehensive, contextually-relevant view of any topic for business users, data scientists, and a variety of targeted business functions.”
As one should expect, InfoSphere handles many types of data from disparate sources with aplomb, and its support for mobile tech is a feature ahead of the curve. Perhaps most importantly, the platform boasts strong security while maintaining scalability. See the article for a detailed list of InfoSphere’s features.
Before IBM snapped it up in 2012, Vivisimo passed through the hands of Yippy, which had purchased it in 2010. The firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh but maintains other offices on the East Coast and in Europe.
Cynthia Murrell, September 05, 2014