Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

HP Reportedly Close to $10 Billion Buyout of Autonomy, PC Unit Spinoff

HP is close to announcing a $10 billion deal to acquire Autonomy and may also be ready to announce the spinoff of its personal computer business, according to a story from Bloomberg News, citing sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The potential spinoff of the PC business would amount to a huge shift. HP is, after all, the world’s largest maker of personal computers, ahead of Dell. HP’s Personal Systems Group did nearly $41 billion in business last year that earned $2 billion. This is the sort of radical surgery that analysts have been calling for in recent months as the PC market has suffered, and HP’s lack of success so far with the TouchPad tablet device hasn’t made that unit look any better.

Autonomy is a U.K.-based software company that specializes in “meaning based computing.” Its software is designed to recognize relationships between structured data — what you find in an organized database — and unstructured data, which can be anything from words in a written document, a speech or conversation to anything else that has information that isn’t organized into rows and columns. It’s been the subject of occasional buyout rumors. In December there were sketchily sourced reports that Oracle and Microsoft were kicking the tires.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work